Option for Your HS Grads Without a Degree

If you or one of your kids graduated high school 2 or more years ago, has college credit, but hasn’t picked up a degree yet, this AAS degree from Pierpont Community and Technical College is worth knowing about. You might already qualify, and it might not cost a dime. On a personal note, 1 of my sons and 2 of my close friends all picked up this awesome degree, and my youngest is working on it.

Pierpont Community & Technical College is in Fairmont, West Virginia. Their main campus is shared with Fairmont State University, and they are both regionally accredited offering a full range of traditional college degrees. In February of 2022, The Board of Governors voted to merge these two colleges, which will matter to you later in this post.

A board of governors (BOG) is a group of people that oversees or manages the running of an institution. In each state, the BOG may govern either the state university system, individual colleges and universities, or both. In West Virginia, the BOG decided that there were a lot of adults walking around with college credit but no degree. They formulated an associate degree template that allows adults to apply their unused credit to earn a college degree. Adults who need college credit are encouraged to take those classes at the college, but you don’t have to. This is where the hidden gem is found.

Pierpont Community & Technical College Website

Program Purpose:
The Board of Governors A.A.S. Degree is a degree program designed to help adults achieve their personal and or professional goals and complete a college degree without committing to a specific academic major. This degree program is open to any student who has graduated from high school two or more years prior; students who earned GEDs are welcome to enroll if their assigned graduating class has been out of high school two years or more.

They are non-negotiable on the requirement of having graduated high school 2 years ago, so this doesn’t work for those Homeschooling for College Credit. It will, however, work for your older kids or even yourself!

This degree can be earned entirely independently of the college- meaning you can transfer in 100% of your credit and just apply for graduation! (That is the recommended strategy.) This degree goes “around” the regular college application process and goes directly to the director of the program. All of your official transcripts are sent to, and reviewed by, Nancy Parks.

Nancy W. Parks
Director of Assessment, Advising & Testing, Associate Professor of Academic Studies
nancy.parks@pierpont.edu
304-367-4990

Basic Eligibility

  1. Have graduated high school / GED 2 or more years ago. A homeschool high school transcript with graduation date and parent’s signature is sufficient.
  2. United States citizen

Degree Requirements

  1. At least 12 graded college credits must come from a regionally accredited college. (about 4 classes). Use any prior dual enrollment, Arizona State University Universal Learner, community college, Outlier, or other university courses to meet requirement. These can be in any subject!!
    • Specifically for this part of the requirement, you can not use your Sophia, Straighterline, Studycom, Saylor, CLEP, DSST, AP, TECEP, UExcel, or other ACE credit.
  2. The distribution of college credit to earn this degree is as follows:
    • 6 credits Communication and or English (2 classes)
    • 6 credits Math and or Science (2 classes)
    • 6 credits Social Sciences (2 classes)
    • 3 credits Computers (1 class)
    • 39 credits Free / Electives (13 classes in any subject)
    • Note that for this part of the requirement, you CAN use Sophia, Straighterline, Studycom, Saylor, CLEP, DSST, AP, TECEP, UExcel, and other ACE Credit. Pierpont does not accept Coopersmith, Davar, or onlinedegreecom.
  3. Area of Emphasis is an option for anyone who has 15 college credits in the same subject (about 5 classes). The “catch” is that you can only choose an AoE from the subjects that Pierpont offers. Pierpont’s list If you are working with already acquired credits, it may not be worth the trouble of taking more credits to qualify for an AoE, but if you still have some credit to earn, an AoE can make an otherwise nondescript entry on your resume stand out! Use the HS4CC “Find College Credit” list to find credits in your prospective AoE if you need some!

How my family is using this degree in our homeschool My son started dual enrollment in high school and completed all 3 of the welding credentials offered through his community college. He earned 48 college credits in welding (tuition-free), and is highly qualified for his career, but his college doesn’t offer a degree in welding. I really want him to have a degree! We’re using ASU Universal Learner and Sophia courses to complete Pierpont’s general education requirements online while he works full time in his career field. Because of Pierpont’s program, he’ll get to earn an AAS degree with an Area of Emphasis in Welding. -Jennifer Cook DeRosa

Cost

There is no cost for this degree. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

It’s free to apply and free to graduate. The only costs you’ll have are from earned (earning) college credits. Since you can price shop for any college credit deficiencies, I suggest not using their classes and instead using alternative credit.

Alternative College Credit

CLEP: CLEP Exams are completely free when you obtain a voucher from Modern States. This is the lowest cost option for college credit in 2022! Best of all, you can take CLEP exams at home. This option is also free when you use a Modern States voucher. More about vouchers.

HS4CC CLEP Information Page Pierpont’s current catalog does NOT provide a credit acceptance list for CLEP, but we know they accept CLEP. If you already have CLEP credit, it may be applied according to the categories below based on generally accepted practice. If you do not yet have CLEP credit but want to take CLEP exams for this degree, I strongly recommend emailing Nancy Parks and asking if the CLEP exam(s) you’re planning are acceptable to meet the requirement. If not acceptable to meet the requirement, be sure to ask if it /they can be used as electives.

*considered by many to be one of the easier exams

  • CLEP College Composition (Communication/English)
  • CLEP College Composition Modular (Communication/English)*
  • CLEP Analyzing and Interpreting Literature (Communication/English)*
  • CLEP American Literature (Communication/English)
  • CLEP English Literature (Communication/English)
  • CLEP Biology (Math/Science)
  • CLEP Calculus (Math/Science)
  • CLEP Chemistry (Math/Science)
  • CLEP College Algebra (Math/Science)
  • CLEP College Mathematics (Math/Science)*
  • CLEP Natural Sciences (Math/Science)
  • CLEP Precalculus (Math/Science)
  • CLEP Information Systems (Computers)*
  • CLEP American Government (Social Sciences)
  • CLEP History of the United States I (Social Sciences)
  • CLEP History of the United States II (Social Sciences)
  • CLEP Human Growth and Development (Social Sciences)*
  • CLEP Introduction to Educational Psychology (Social Sciences)
  • CLEP Principles of Macroeconomics (Social Sciences)
  • CLEP Principles of Microeconomics (Social Sciences)
  • CLEP Introductory Psychology (Social Sciences)*
  • CLEP Introductory Sociology (Social Sciences)*
  • CLEP Social Sciences and History (Social Sciences)
  • CLEP Western Civilization I (Social Sciences)
  • CLEP Western Civilization II (Social Sciences)

Other Alternative Credit Options

Time

If you apply to the program with your credits complete, the time invested will simply be the time it takes Nancy to evaluate your credit and qualify you for graduation. Exact graduation application dates are updated each year on their website, but they have 3 graduation dates per year.

  • If you are graduating in May, your diploma will be mailed by June 30.
  • If you are graduating in August, your diploma will be mailed by September 1.
  • If you are graduating in December, your diploma will be mailed by January 31.

After the AAS Degree

An AAS degree is not designed to transfer into a 4-year university. With one exception, completing an AAS does not automatically count as the “first two years” of a 4-year degree elsewhere. In simple terms, this degree does NOT achieve credit laundering of alternative credits to be used at another university.

The single exception is in the articulation agreement between Pierpont and Fairmont State University. They currently have a transfer agreement that guarantees the acceptance of your AAS into their bachelor’s program.

“Students graduating with a Board of Governors A.A.S. degree may choose to apply all hours of that degree to WV Regents Bachelors of Arts (RBA) degree program at Fairmont State University (or other WV Bachelor-degree granting colleges or universities). Students may also use the BOG A.A.S. in their employment search for any position with the minimum expectation of the candidate having completed at least two years of college-level coursework or of having earned an Associate degree.”

https://www.pierpont.edu/ac/programs/board-governors

But I have comments…

This articulation agreement should be smooth and seamless, but my personal experience with a close friend says otherwise. In her case (this semester) it took multiple emails and phone calls to a very confused and uninformed Fairmont State University. It seems like they are unaware of their own program, how the AAS should transfer, and what remains to complete after a successful transfer. In the end, my friend opted to use a different college outside the WV system for her degree. If you’ll recall my opening paragraph referenced the news report from last month that announces the merger of these two colleges. I expect that this should significantly improve the articulation transfer process and help one degree flow into the next as originally intended.

This AAS degree works best for anyone who needs a degree for advancement in a career that requires a 2 year degree, on a resume to open doors, to meet minimum college credit requirements, military enlistment, or even personal achievement. This degree also works to roll college certificates and college diplomas into a degree when that option isn’t available.


ZOOM Event- hosted by Jennifer Cook DeRosa

April 9th, 2022

10am EST – 11am EST

Learn and discuss the Pierpont AAS BOG degree. $2.99 technology fee. Register Now