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Robert Morris, CCAC Partner to Help Students Earn Two Degrees

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pittsburgh – Robert Morris University and the Community College of Allegheny County are launching the Reverse Degree Program, which will allow students who transfer to Robert Morris from CCAC to earn both a bachelor’s degree and an associate degree.

Students who enroll in this unique program will be able to apply the credits they earn toward a bachelor’s degree at Robert Morris toward an associate degree in the same major at CCAC. Currently, when many students transfer from CCAC to RMU, they have too few credits to complete their associate degree. 

An associate degree will make students more marketable to employers and even allow those students who work while attending Robert Morris to get better jobs while they are still in school, said Larry Tomei, vice provost for academic affairs at Robert Morris. 

“Students who earn an associate degree are often more committed to lifelong learning and more likely to complete their bachelor’s degree,” said Tomei.

Approximately half of the 250 students, on average, who transfer to RMU each year have taken classes at CCAC. About one-third of those students will be eligible for the Reverse Degree Program, based on their major. Eligible students will have earned at least 30 credits at CCAC and at least 12 credits at RMU to receive their associate degree. 

The program also will help CCAC raise its degree completion rate, a key metric of success by which every institution of higher learning is evaluated. Community colleges face a catch-22 when it comes to their degree completion rates: Many students enroll at a community college with the sole intent of later transferring to a four-year institution, but if they successfully transfer before completing their associate degree, the community college’s graduation rate suffers. 

The Reverse Degree Program is the first such partnership between CCAC and a four-year institution such as Robert Morris.

“The Reverse Degree Program offers a real opportunity for eligible students to maximize their education and future employment opportunities by earning their associate degree while working to complete their bachelor’s credentials,” said CCAC President Quintin B. Bullock. 

“This student-driven partnership underscores the strong working relationship between the two schools -- one which will help encourage degree completion and student academic success,” said Bullock.


Through 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate degree programs across five academic schools, Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, Pa., works to change its students' lives so that they can go out and change the lives of others for the better. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate, nontraditional and online students from 37 states and 37 nations are enrolled at RMU, which sits on 230 scenic acres just 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. Emphasizing experiential learning, Robert Morris focuses on professional development, service learning, global awareness, undergraduate research, campus leadership, and cultural experiences, all of which are documented on our innovative Student Engagement Transcript. More than 100 clubs and organizations help students to develop leadership skills, network professionally, and meet friends. RMU also has 16 NCAA Division I athletic programs, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, and men's and women's lacrosse. Visit to learn more.


CCAC annually educates more than 30,000 credit students through 155 degree, certificate and transfer programs and offers thousands of students access to noncredit and workforce development courses. The learning-centered institution’s mission is to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society. CCAC’s quality programs enable students to transfer credits to 520 colleges and universities and support regional workforce needs with accessible instruction available day, evening, weekend and online in Allegheny County and beyond. Visit to learn more.