Claudia Cooke ’22 Is Among First “Ferrum Promise” Graduates

//Claudia Cooke ’22 Is Among First “Ferrum Promise” Graduates

Claudia Cooke ’22 Is Among First “Ferrum Promise” Graduates

A program that came to campus a few years ago is coming to fruition.

The “Ferrum Promise” allows students who receive an appropriate associate’s degree from a Virginia community college to transfer to Ferrum College and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four semesters/two years if they complete the required courses and hit each benchmark.

Ferrum College alumna Claudia CookeAmong the first students to go through the program was Claudia Cooke, who walked the commencement stage for a Bachelor of Social Work degree during this year’s graduation ceremony on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Cooke received her associate’s in General Studies with a specialization in Human Services from Patrick Henry Community College in December of 2019. In August of 2020, Cooke enrolled and transferred to Ferrum College to major in Social Work. “I am very surprised to know that I was (one of the first ones) to go through this program,” Cooke said.

Throughout her time at Ferrum, Cooke participated in the Ferrum College Marching Band (color guard) her junior and senior year and was also part of the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success. Moreover, she was also inducted into the Social Work Honor Society (Tau Rho Ferrum Chapter) in April of 2021.

“I am excited that she’s among the first, but I hope that she is among the first of many,” said Jason Powell, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

The Ferrum Promise program is the brainchild of college President David Johns and previous Provost Aimé Sposato. The two introduced the program to campus in November of 2019.

“There are about a dozen (students) in agreements (with the Promise) right now,” Powell said.

If the student does not complete their bachelor’s degree in those two years after transferring, the rest of their tuition is free. The “Ferrum Promise” applies to students who are enrolled full-time and meet certain academic requirements.

The Ferrum Promise program was created to prevent students (nearly 40 percent) from spending extra years to receive a bachelor’s degree due to their credits from their community college not adequately transferring.

“This is not what they (transfers) expected, and it’s frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive,” said Eric Grundman, Ferrum College’s senior enrollment officer. Students at community colleges find out about the program mainly through their academic advisors.

To make this happen, Ferrum has partnered with two-year institutions to make education more affordable and accessible for students. “Our strongest partner in this is Virginia Western Community College,” Powell said.

The “Ferrum Promise” includes many majors offered by Ferrum College. Learn more here.

Article written and submitted by Lindsey M. Foster, editor of The Iron Blade.

Read Molly Hunter’s article about Claudia Cooke that appeared in The Franklin News-Post here.

Watch Joe Dashiell’s interview with Claudia Cooke that appeared on WDBJ-7 here.