WEYERS CAVE — Blue Ridge Community College and James Madison University have forged another partnership intertwining their students.
Presidents of the institutions announced Monday that 50 students from JMU’s fall 2022 waitlist will be able to go their first year at BRCC while living on JMU’s campus and eventually be able to transfer into the four-year university. The transfer program, named Bridge to Madison, is slated to begin in fall 2022 but could be expanded in future years to more students if the program proves successful.
“Admissions on the JMU side will pick students off the waitlist, and based on what we’re able to discern from their applications, try to identify students we think would be successful in a program like this and extend invitations to those students,” said Fletcher Linder, JMU’s dean of University Studies and associate provost for online strategy. “And from there, we’ll see who says yes and we’ll just keep trying to fill the slots.”
Jonathan Alger, JMU president, and John Downey, BRCC president, made the joint announcement at the BRCC biosciences building Monday.
Alger said the Bridge to Madison increases access to JMU and affordability of higher education. He also said it will lead to more student success as both BRCC and JMU will be helping students.
“Part of the goal is that they will get used to being on a college campus,” Alger said. “They will, at JMU, have access to student activities and organizations, for example, as well as living and interacting with other students.”
Typically, JMU freshmen are not allowed to have cars on campus, but Bridge to Madison students will be able to, according to Linder.
He said Bridge to Madison students would not be in the same dorm hall but would be housed near each other on campus.
The state government is working on a project to help transfers from two-year institutions, such as BRCC, to four-year institutions, such as JMU, according to Downey.
“They’re trying to get all two-year institutions to work cooperatively with four-year institutions and as usual, I think our partnership [with JMU] leads the way in terms of giving the state a model to follow,” he said.