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WIU, Highland Community College Continue Partnership

Photo of WIU and HCC meeting

For many years, Western Illinois University and Highland Community College (HCC) in Freeport have worked together to ensure continuing education for Highland students and a seamless transition from HCC to WIU. Today, the two institutions signed an updated Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) agreement, as well as a new transfer agreement with the WIU theatre, dance, and art programs.


The BGS agreement allows HCC students maximum transferability from all associate degrees to WIU’s BGS program. At Highland during the first two years, students would complete the requirements for an Associate of Arts degree with an emphasis in art, graphic design, theatre, and general studies. Students would then complete their final two years at WIU.

Through the agreement, Highland students are eligible for transfer to Western to earn a degree in:


  • Bachelor of Arts in Art — Art Studio
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art — Art Studio
  • Bachelor of Arts in Art — Graphic Design
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art — Graphic Design
  • Bachelor of Arts in Theatre — Performance
  • Bachelor of Arts in General Studies


“We are pleased to continue our partnership with Highland Community College,” said President Jack Thomas. “Together, we are committed to bringing outstanding opportunities to students and providing them with the tools for a successful future.”


According to Jeff Hancks, executive director of global education and outreach at WIU, students can transfer up to 80 semester hours of credit from Highland to Western’s BGS degree program and can complete BGS degree requirements through online courses, as well as internship experiences. The partnership provides place-bound HCC students an opportunity to complete a baccalaureate degree from a quality public institution, Hancks added.


“The BGS program is individualized and flexible. Our continued partnership with Highland Community College allows students to finish their associate degree at HCC, and have a seamless transfer to Western to obtain their bachelor’s degree while remaining in the Freeport area,” Hancks explained. “Highland students also have the benefits of Western’s innovative Cost Guarantee program, which means that an HCC student who earns his or her associate degree in Spring 2019 and transfers to Western for the Fall 2019 semester will lock in Western’s tuition and fees rate.”


Highland Community College’s fine arts programs support the expanding effort to highlight the rich culture of arts in the area. The partnership with Western allows for local talented artists to continue to flourish in the arts without leaving the state.


“I want to commend everyone at our institution and our partnership universities,” said Tim Hood, president of Highland Community College. “This was a lot of leg work for everyone involved. I could not be more proud of this work, and what it means to our students.”


The theatre and dance transfer agreement allows Highland students to complete the requirements for a two-year Associate of Arts degree with an emphasis in theatre. Students may then transfer to WIU for their final two years and be eligible to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre.


“This partnership with Highland Community College is a perfect example of how community colleges and four-year public institutions in the state of Illinois can work in concert for the good of students,” said WIU Theatre and Dance Chair Tammy Killian.


For more information on the Highland/WIU partnerships, contact Hancks at 309-298-1929 or to learn more about Highland’s Fine Arts programs, visit or call 815-599-3490.