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Ferris summer bus tour highlights educational partnerships

BIG RAPIDS -- Ferris State University President David L. Eisler and lead administrators will visit nine cities and four community colleges during the third annual Presidential Bus Tour of Michigan June 5 through 8.

The tour will give Ferris administrators an opportunity to meet with local higher education officials to discuss ideas for collaboration, current and future program offerings, as well as meet with alumni and friends.

"The bus tour provides an excellent opportunity for Ferris State University to interact with our community college partners, our alumni, our donors and the communities we serve across the state," Eisler said.

Since 1974, Ferris has taken higher education to the citizens of Michigan through partnerships with local entities, particularly community colleges. With the heightened awareness of the need for education beyond high school and the recent recognition that Michigan lags the nation in baccalaureate degree holders, Ferris has expanded its efforts to offer distinctive baccalaureate-level programming in additional communities.

The University currently offers certificates or degrees at more than 26 different sites throughout the state. Through these partnerships, the community college will offer up to three years of the required coursework leading to a baccalaureate from Ferris. To complete their bachelorýsdegrees, students will enroll for 30 or more credits through Ferris, depending upon the specific educational backgrounds, making the cost of higher education more affordable.

Four new competitive transfer scholarships will be available this fall to transfer students in all undergraduate programs, assisting students in their transition to Ferris. The scholarships offer anywhere from $1,500 to $2,700 per academic year or in-state tuition for non-resident or international students. They are two-year scholarships with an option for a third-year renewal.

"Our goal is for Ferris State University to be the transfer institution of choice," Eisler said. "Ferris already has a number of 2+2 degrees in place, where students first earn an associate degree at their community college or Ferris and then their bachelor's degree.

"These scholarships are an added incentive to help students with their educational costs and also provide the means for us to strengthen our partnerships with community colleges," he added.

The University also recently introduced the Military Veterans Scholarship Program. Effective in January 2006, the program provides a $1,000 annual scholarship and waives out-of-state tuition fees for qualified veterans enrolling at Ferris. Veterans entering school in either freshman or transfer status are eligible for the scholarship. The scholarship is renewable for three additional years and the out-of-state tuition waiver continues as long as the student-veteran meets the program requirements.

The tour itinerary begins in the Tri City area the first day with subsequent stops in Detroit, Livonia and Birmingham on June 6; Detroit and Dearborn on June 7; and Kalamazoo and St. Joseph on June 8.

Ferris and community college officials will discuss articulation agreements, sharing resources and mutually beneficial partnerships from 9 a.m. to noon on June 5 at Delta College, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on June 6 at Schoolcraft College, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on June 7 at Wayne County Community College and from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on June 8 at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

Further information is available by contacting Leah Nixon, assistant director of News Services, at (231) 591-5604.