The majority of Fort Lewis College transfer students come from San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico, and to strengthen the link between the two institutions, FLC has created a reciprocal program special to SJC students. Beginning in Fall 2019, any SJC student graduating with an associate degree and holding a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher is eligible for in-state tuition at FLC.
“We want to make Fort Lewis as accessible as possible, and we want to support that local relationship, too,” says Katie Nester, associate director of Admission. “We’ve built a great relationship with San Juan and that's really laid the foundation for us to be able to have a program like this.”
Currently, any first-time undergraduate degree-seeking New Mexico resident can attend FLC at an in-state price under the New Mexico Reciprocal Scholarship. Different than the new reciprocal pathway for SJC, New Mexico residents’ cumulative GPA has to be 3.0 or higher. The lower GPA requirement for SJC students is part of a revamped transfer student enrollment strategy in the Admission Office, but it’s also an outcome of a close partnership.
“This partnership with Fort Lewis College not only contributes to the future success of our students, but also provides an additional component to the quality of education we provide at San Juan College,” explains San Juan College President Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass. “These scholarships offer an opportunity for our transfer students to further their education in a wide variety of programs.”
FLC Admission staff regularly visit SJC, typically twice a month, to host pre-enrollment counseling sessions with potential transfer students. The Admission Office now also has a counselor who solely manages transfer students from across the U.S. Nester says this is the time of year when transfer students are deciding on where to enroll for the fall, and those who qualify for any scholarships are followed closely by her counselors. Already admitted SJC students that applied with CGPAs between 2.75 and 2.99 are getting phone calls this month about the new scholarship, which Nester says will be life-changing.
"This opens doors for students who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford to attend Fort Lewis, let alone any baccalaureate-awarding institution,” she says. “We're honoring their hard work and we're honoring the common communities that we serve with San Juan."
Katie Nester, associate director of Admission
Any student in a reciprocal program is attending FLC through a merit-based scholarship that essentially meets the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition. The scholarship will pay out in the fall and spring only and students will have to meet certain requirements for renewal each year. This fall’s students will have to complete 30 credits by the end of the academic year with a minimum CGPA of 2.0. If a student were to fall below those requirements, they risk losing the scholarship.
“It makes the stakes high, but we know if they worked hard at San Juan and were successful enough to be able to receive the scholarship, then they have the work ethic to be successful here, too,” says Nester.
Many transfer students have different life circumstances than first-years and are typically more price-conscious. More commonly, transfer students are commuters, adult learners, or juggling jobs while also going to class. Not only does FLC offer support for their academic studies, but there is also family housing and a child care center on campus.
“It can be difficult for them to make an education happen with all of the things they have going on, but we’re here to support them,” says Nester. “It’s important for us to be able to serve them and empower them with an education, and I think that’s pretty powerful for our communities.”
Also included in the SJC reciprocal scholarship program is an additional award for students with an honors GPA of 3.25 or higher. These honors students will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship for their first year at FLC.
Learn more about the SJC Reciprocal Scholarship