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LeTourneau University Expands Aviation Education Opportunities in DFW with New Partnerships


LeTourneau University signed agreements Monday with Collin College and McKinney Independent School District that will expand the aviation education opportunities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

The agreements were signed at LETU's new educational center located at McKinney National Airport, 1500 Industrial Blvd., where students are in their first semester of taking aviation-related courses. LETU moved into the space during this past year and will begin offering flight training in January 2016.

"The whole objective of engaging in this partnership is to ensure that students can earn their college degree with half the financial investment in half the time, yet still receive a world-class education as a professional aviator," said LETU Provost and Executive Vice-President Dr. Philip Coyle. "This can all be done through this three-way partnership."
LETU Dean of Aviation Fred Ritchey says this accelerated educational pathway specifically for students interested in becoming professional pilots is new.
"To my knowledge, this is the first agreement of this type in the state of Texas," Ritchey said.

The Articulation Agreement signed Monday allows MISD students access to dual-credit courses that will allow them the potential to earn an associate's degree from Collin College and up to 15 aviation credit hours, including flight training, with LeTourneau University that transfer directly to LeTourneau University's Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management.

"I'm looking forward to showing the nation that we can graduate high school students who have not only completed high school graduation requirements but an associate degree toward completing their Bachelor of Aviation Management degree in two years post high school," said Tamy Smalskas, senior director of college and career readiness. "Why not develop dual credit opportunities to lesson tuition costs for high school students?"

The district's aviation program has taken off over the last four years, growing from about 40 students in 2011 to 200 by 2013. Since then, the number of students interested in aviation has remained strong. The presence of an FAA-approved flight simulator on which students can log a portion of their flight training hours, can help save students and their parents a lot of money.

The new agreement will open more opportunities for MISD student to take dual credit core content area courses through Collin College and earn an associate's degree, and all of those courses are transferable to a bachelor's degree in aviation at LeTourneau. Basically, LeTourneau and Collin College are partnering on their courses for our students, and we're partnering with LeTourneau in the aviation field."

Collin College plans to expand the number of these kinds of fast-track programs.

"The relationship that Collin College and LeTourneau University has created for aviation is the beginning of many to follow," said Kandi Hoye-Nixon of Collin College." We will continue to work together to provide quality education to our residents at an affordable cost."

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