Like many students, life got in the way for Raquel (Saracho) Lopez while pursuing her bachelor’s degree. “Getting a bachelor’s degree was something I’d always wanted to do, a lifetime goal,” Lopez said. “My husband and I had a son while in high school, we were teen parents, but I always wanted to further my education.”
After graduating from Phoenix College (PC) in 2000, and with her son grown and out of college himself, and her daughter a senior in high school, Lopez had the time to make her dreams reality.
PC and the Maricopa County Community Colleges District (MCCCD) has partnership agreements with more than 40 colleges and universities. The institutions are located all across the United States, giving students plenty of options when it comes to specialized programs, tuition rates, with on campus and online programs.
Lopez had started the admission process at one school – and was far into it when she learned how many classes she would need to take. “They told me I would almost have to start all over again,” she said.
She learned that with different colleges and different programs, each student’s situation can be unique. She just needed to find the right fit. For Lopez, that ended up being Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), one of the largest online schools in the United States.
“My son was the one who mentioned SNHU,” Lopez said. “I had seen commercials about the school.” From the first call, she knew she had found the university where she could earn her bachelor’s degree. “Everyone at SNHU was so wonderful,” she said. “They wanted to help me, and I appreciated their help. It was very welcoming and warm.”
Twenty years after leaving Phoenix College, she wasn’t sure how many credits would transfer – and she was hoping she hadn’t found another school that would have her start from scratch. “The admission team reached out to PC to get my transcript to have it sent to SNHU,” she said. “And after evaluation, they told me I could transfer in 57 credits. I was elated. That’s about half (a bachelor’s degree), so that was wonderful.”
SNHU is known for its generous transfer policy, accepting up to 90 credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Most SNHU students have attended at least one college previously and bring in transfer credits. Transfer credits typically help students save both time and money to complete a bachelor’s degree.
As a partnership benefit, graduates from PC and the entire Maricopa system receive a 10% tuition discount from SNHU.
“I was comparing tuition costs to other universities,” Lopez said. For her situation, and with a discount, she found SNHU to be the right place for her financially. “Tuition is very reasonable.”
SNHU is also known for its online learning platform – a modality Lopez was not familiar with. When she was a student at PC, she had taken all her classes in person. She knows she’s one of many students who have made the shift from on-campus to online learning, and advises others looking to make this transition to “Be patient, and ask tons of questions. Reach out to college staff, because they'll help you navigate through it.”
Lopez, who started at SNHU last fall, is working to complete her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice – and she’s close to completing that personal goal. At SNHU, “they understand my schedule,” she said. “I’m a working mom. I have a career. They work with me so I can get through the program the best way I can.”
Visit the MCCCD university partnership web page to learn more about all university partnerships.