Kansas Wesleyan University is the latest Kansas institution of higher education to sign an agreement of understanding with Pratt Community College that will make it easier to transfer student hours from PCC to other universities.

Agreements of understanding between PCC and state universities are not new. But with the ever-increasing costs of a college education, PCC students have recently been seeking verification that their course work will be accepted wherever they transfer after getting their PCC degree, said PCC Vice President of Instruction Joe Varrientos.

An Agreement of Understanding assures PCC students their associate of science or associate of arts degree will be accepted as long as they are now a junior and seeking a bachelor's degree.

It also means the university will facilitate the ease of transition from an in-state community college to a four-year institution.

An agreement of understanding is beneficial to students because it assures that their work at PCC will be accepted at university in Kansas.

It is beneficial to PCC because students are more likely to enroll at PCC in the first place when they know their work will transfer to their next education choice.

It is beneficial to the universities because when students know their work will transfer, they are more likely to continue their education and that brings more revenue to the universities, Varrientos said.

With the reduced enrollments in universities in Kansas, having agreements in place helps put the increase the likelihood students will transfer from community colleges.

Besides students asking about successfully transferring their regular hours to universities, Varrientos has been getting some unusual request for help as well. He is currently in conversation now about a PCC student working on an electrical technology degree with North Central Kansas Technical College in association with Fort Hays State University.

Currently, PCC doesn't have an agreement like this involving the institutions.

"It's very unique to have an agreement with three schools," Varrientos said.

The student wants to make sure that courses he takes at PCC will transfer seamlessly through both institutions. If it happens, PCC would be the first Kansas college to have a dual partnership.

Some PCC students will transfer to out of state schools where PCC doesn't have an agreement of understanding. Varrientos said that he gets requests to help those students transfer as many hours as possible.

Universities with agreements with PCC include Kansas State University, University of Kansas-School of Nursing, Fort Hays State University, Wichita State University, Pittsburg State University and Emporia State University.