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Clearing the air -- Moraine Valley host no plans to become a four-year university

  • Written by Kelly White

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    Despite rumors over the course of a decade, Moraine Valley Community College will not be transitioning into a four-year college.
    Rumors have been especially hot recently in the wake of the Palos Hills school making multi-million dollar improvements on its campus and two-year upper-division Governors State University transitioning into a four-year school last fall.
    MVCC officials shot those rumors down.
    “That rumor has been around forever, and we are not changing to a four-year and have no plans to,” Mark Horstmeyer, Director of College Relations, said, “Currently, state law does not permit community colleges to become four-year institutions.”
Horstmeyer said students past and present are responsible for the rumor of the possible four-year transition.
    “We have heard from a lot of our students over the years and continue to hear that they wish we would become a four-year school because they feel so comfortable at Moraine Valley and many don’t want to leave,” he said, “They like their instructors, love the campus and feel they have many opportunities here to be successful. We prepare them for the workforce and/or the transfer to a four-year school.”

    Illinois state law says that in order for Moraine to become a four-year college, it would need a change in legislation and support for it from the Illinois Community College Trustees Association, then the Illinois Community College Board and Illinois Board of Higher Education. The final step would be approval by the state legislature. So even if MVCC wanted to make the transition, it would be a long process.
    According to the Illinois Community College System, the Junior College Act of 1965 provided the foundation for the present system of public community colleges in Illinois. The act removed the junior colleges from the common school system and placed them under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. It provided for establishment of a system of locally initiated and administered comprehensive Class I junior college districts; requiring all junior colleges operating in school districts where separate tax levies had been established for the college become separate junior colleges, classified as Class II districts.
    Within Illinois state community colleges, transfer degrees are obtainable and use a common general education core and numerous major-specific courses that are transferable to all public higher education institutions in the state. Occupational degrees are also available and are designed to meet the criteria for excellence established by the National Council for Occupational Education of the American Association of Community Colleges.
    One student is happy with the school just the way it is.
    “I like because Moraine is only a two-year college,” Moraine Valley student, Gilbert Mendez, 20, of Chicago Ridge, said, “Not everyone wants to go on to obtain a bachelor’s degree and it’s important to have local community colleges in the area that offer associates degrees and a variety of work-related programs for students.”
    However, even with Moraine’s Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, Associate in Arts in Teaching and Associate in Fine Arts degrees that to transfer to a bachelor's degree program at a four-year college or university, some students are left questioning the two-year college.
    “I think Moraine should be a four-year school because it is close to where I live,”  Terry Patterson, 21, said, “The school also has a nice atmosphere and compared to other universities, the teachers are nice and open to talk about anything. They always find time for their students if they need help.”
    In pursuit of an Associate of Science Degree, Patterson said the college offers a university-like experience.
    “The campus provides students with the necessary courses and will help them further their education if they choose to continue on to a four-year college,” he said.