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Bonnie DePew is a successful CCC2NAU student who has made the transition without problems. (Josh Biggs/Arizona Daily Sun)

Coconino Community College's smooth transition program for students who plan to earn their bachelor's degree at nearby Northern Arizona University is showing better-than-average rates of retention, graduation and grades.

According to a report done by a program adviser during his NAU graduate studies, students who participate in CCC2NAU show the following advantages:

-- an average one-year retention rate of 86.5 percent over the last four semesters (the comparable rate for all transfer students is about 76 percent)

-- a two-year graduation rate of 40 percent (the comparable rate for all transfer students is roughly 27 percent)

-- an average cumulative grade point average at NAU of 3.01 (compared to 2.52 for CCC students who transferred to NAU outside of the CCC2NAU pipeline)

Ryan Wessel, the CCC2NAU adviser who wrote the study, said students like the program's one-on-one advisement and that the degree plans are tailored and neatly laid out. There's also a significant social connection to NAU even during the community college days.

CCC2NAU is designed for CCC students who intend to earn their bachelor's degree at NAU, are not a current or former NAU student within the last 10 years, and who do not hold a bachelor's degree already. Students aren't required to earn an associate's degree or junior standing before moving on, although many do.

Word of mouth has been helpful for the 4-year-old program, which jumped from a cohort of 18 who moved over to NAU in fall 2009 to 41 last fall.


Lower cost is a measurable benefit to the program. A resident student who takes 15 credits per semester for four semesters at CCC could spend $5,280 at the community college in tuition and fees; a student taking 12 units per semester for two years will spend about $4,200. Two years of NAU tuition at this year's locked-in pledge rate is $17,600 for an Arizona resident. That's a savings of about 70 percent to 75 percent.

Wessel said he expects a large group to sign up this fall with the recently added draw of NAU campus housing for program students.

He said he's not really surprised by the positive results of the young program because CCC has good students.

"I've had the pleasure to work with a lot of these students and the dedication level is there, the will," he said.


One of these students is Bonnie Depew, who is now at NAU double-majoring in math and environmental science.

Depew enthusiastically recommends the program, speaking highly of her advising from Wessel and the easy transition.

Depew, 32, moved from Bullhead City to Flagstaff a few years ago, after her husband was accepted at NAU. She had tried college right out of high school but only lasted a year because she just didn't want to do it.

A few years later, with her son about to begin kindergarten, she was ready to try school again. She was working office jobs that she found unsatisfying, and she wanted to do more.

At first she thought she would only get an associate's degree, but she felt more and more encouraged to go further. After two years and that associate's at CCC, she moved on. She is the only one in her family to earn a degree.

"Between the CCC2NAU and then the scholarships that I've received ... I can tell you I would not have gone to NAU if it weren't for both of those two things," she said.


CCC2NAU calls itself a "transition" program instead of a transfer program. Students are connected to both institutions from the start, even when they're based at the community college.

Academic advising comes from cross-trained staff with offices at CCC. CCC students in the pipeline get an NAU identification card and email address, and access to NAU's sporting events, student clubs, library, and the health and recreation center in addition to housing.

Another perk: When they get to NAU, the students get the locked-in tuition rate of that year's traditional freshman class.

NAU also has similar "2NAU" joint admissions programs with Arizona Western College, Maricopa Community Colleges, Central Arizona College, Mohave Community College, Pima Community College, Eastern Arizona College and Yavapai College. The Coconino program was the first of the "2NAU" options.

Hillary Davis can be reached at or 556-2261.

On the Web

1-year retention

CCC2NAU students: 86.5%

CCC transfers, other*: 71.1%

All transfers: 76%

*only those who would have been eligible for CCC2NAU

(fall 2009-spring 2011)

Source: CCC, NAU

2-year graduation

CCC2NAU students: 40%

CCC transfers, other*: 27.3%

All transfers: 27%

*only those who would have been eligible for CCC2NAU

(fall 2009 and spring 2010 cohorts)

Source: CCC, NAU


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