Embedded Associate Degrees Increase Retention

By  - 

As institutions across the country continue to contend with fluctuating post-pandemic enrollment and retention numbers, colleges like West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) are getting creative. With a staggered release of fall 2024 to spring 2025, students who meet the requirements will be awarded an embedded academic associate degree in one of the eight available degree programs while on their way toward a four-year degree

The embedded degree initiative is motivated by efforts to reduce student debt and increase student earning power, and is a significant milestone on their journey to earn a bachelor degree that also “improves their position in the workforce if they need to temporarily pause their education,” says Chip Chandler, senior communications specialist.

Student eligibility requirements include earning 60 semester credit hours – 42 university core credit hours and 18 credit hours related to their intended baccalaureate degree – at least 30 of which were earned at WTAMU; achievement of a minimum 2.0 GPA; and no previous award of an associate degree at another institution.

While approved by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, the details are still pending final approval by regulatory offices. However, WTAMU anticipates offering an associate of science in mathematics, business, education, health sciences, natural sciences, and social sciences, as well as an associate of art in multidisciplinary studies, and liberal arts and humanities.

“We want our students to complete a bachelor’s degree. That’s part of our ultimate goal and mission as a university,” said WT President Walter V. Wendler in a statement. “But we understand that students may have life events that require them to pause their education. That’s why we believe these embedded associate degrees will be helpful now and in the future.”