Puget Sound joins American Honors Program: promising future for accessibility to education

The University of Puget Sound has just become part of the American Honors Program.

This program offers highly motivated and intelligent community college students the support and resources they will need to get into their dream college after two years.

According to the website, americanhonors.org, the program’s curriculum “is designed to prepare students for junior- and senior-level coursework at the best colleges and universities in the country.

At the conclusion of the 2-year program, students will earn an Associate’s degree with Honors and will have the opportunity to apply for transfer to a top 4-year university to complete their Bachelor’s degree.”

Puget Sound is just one of the 27 public and private schools across the U.S. that is a part of the program.

Pierce Community College, located in Tacoma, signed on as the fifth community college in the U.S. to incorporate this program on Feb. 14.

The increasing participation of institutions like ours and Pierce Community College will strengthen the effectiveness of the program.

Additionally, the American Honors program is designed to advise and expose students to the realities of attending prestigious universities without the enormous cost.

For example, according to spokesman.com, “American Honors offers the same academic rigor a student would find at a four-year university, but for much less—$6,750 annually at Spokane’s community colleges.”

This program is clearly increasing the affordability of higher education while also offering quality comparable to that of participating institutions.

Affordability of higher education is increasingly becoming a challenge that our parents’ generation did not face.

By reducing the cost of tuition, the potential financial burden placed on incoming students will decrease significantly.

As stated on the News and Events section of the University of Puget Sound website, “admitted students will be offered personalized advising, excellent teaching, small classes, online instruction, the support of student learning communities, and advice on financial aid and career development—all as part of a rigorous, two-year academic program at participating community colleges.”

The University of Puget Sound Vice-President for Enrollment Jenny Rickard expressed some of her excitement for the program. Rickard states, “We were interested in expanding our access to talented transfer students from community colleges that might not think of a liberal arts college as a next step.”

She claims that University of Puget Sound “will work with American Honors to develop what is called an ‘articulation agreement’ which basically maps out the transfer credit equivalencies of American Honors courses with Puget Sound courses.”

She believes this program will “provide us with more direct access to community colleges locally and nationally who will now know about Puget Sound and our desire to enroll community college transfer students.”

From the looks of it, it seems as though this program is going to really help highly motivated, intelligent students who could not otherwise afford to attend a four-year college or university.

It is obvious from Puget Sound’s participation that members of our community are passionate about education and are actively seeking to increase the accessibility to higher education.

This program is in the very early stages of taking off, but I have no doubt that it has the potential to help a lot of young people.

I’m sure every college student around the country who finds out about this program will be asking the same question: Where was this program when I was a senior in high school?