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Michigan Colleges Online Memorandum of Understanding

The well-being of our society and the foundation of our economy is a well-educated citizenry, and as technology is incorporated into every aspect of our lives, post-secondary education becomes increasingly vital to Michigan and its residents.  Extending convenient, affordable access to higher education opportunities has been a long-standing mission of Michigan Community Colleges.  This collaborative project will leverage the unique advantages afforded by technology to offer learning opportunities to Michigan residents at any time and any place.

Purpose

The purpose of this memorandum of understanding is to establish the general framework for collaboration among Michigan Community Colleges in support of technology-mediated courses and to serve as a formal consortium agreement among member colleges in order that students can receive financial assistance while enrolled in courses offered through the collaborative.

Membership

Participation in this collaborative is open to all members of the Michigan Community College Association.  Eligibility for participation is also contingent on maintaining accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.  The extent to which participating colleges choose to engage in the activities, beyond those basic commitments included in this memorandum of understanding, will be at the sole discretion of each participating institution.

Governance

The Michigan Colleges Online will be sponsored by and operated under the legal authority of the Michigan Community College Association.  The MCCA Executive Committee will have the authority to:

The Advisory Board of the MCO will include six presidents of Michigan community colleges.  Members of the Board will serve two-year terms and be appointed by the MCCA Executive Committee. Board member terms will be staggered and nominations will be solicited each year by the MCCA Executive Committee.   The president of MCCA will serve as a standing committee member.  Responsibilities of the advisory board include:

Financial Support

Annual membership fees will be recommended by the MCO Advisory Board to the MCCA Executive Committee for adoption by the MCCA Board of Directors.

Fund Procurement

The MCO will provide member colleges with the capacity to compete for funds available from a variety of sources to assist in the development of collaborative programs and services. External funding will be pursued and received by the Michigan Community College Association.

Member Participation

Michigan community colleges have long recognized that successful learning is the result of appropriate student services in support of quality programs of instruction.  There is currently no reason to expect that support services will not be equally critical to the success of students enrolled in technology-mediated courses.  Thus, this memorandum of understanding will define the role of the college providing the technology-mediated instruction as the “provider” college, while many student support services will be provided by the “home” college.  Examples of student services that may be more effectively provided by the home college are:

Every member college will be expected to serve as the home college for any student who would select it as their home college.  All technology-mediated courses intended for general availability throughout the state shall be made available to learners through the MCO. 

Degrees and Certificates

It shall be a common goal of the member colleges of the MCO to collaboratively develop programs of study which may be completed primarily through enrollment in technology-mediated courses.  Development of such programs of study will be consistent with guidelines for online programs of study as described in the appendix; these guidelines may be amended from time to time by the MCO Advisory Board upon recommendation of the MCO staff.  It shall be the role of the degree-granting college to make such online programs of study available.  It is anticipated that students seeking degrees and certificates from member colleges may select courses from multiple provider colleges, and that credits earned for completion of such courses taken through the MCO will fulfill any residency requirements of the program of study.

Articulation Agreement

As a condition of this memorandum of understanding, all member colleges will participate in an articulation agreement as described in the attached appendix. In order to effect this agreement, each member college will participate in a collaborative process to establish and maintain an online database of courses to be offered by provider colleges through the collaborative and the equivalent course at each MCO member college. The articulation agreement detailed in the appendix may be amended from time to time by the MCO Advisory Council upon recommendation of the MCO staff.

Financial Aid Agreement

As a condition of this memorandum of understanding, all member colleges will participate in a financial aid consortium agreement as describe in the attached appendix.  Federal student aid eligibility regulations (34 CFR & 600.9, April 5, 1988) require this agreement.  The financial aid consortium agreement will take effect with the summer semester of 1999 (the semester beginning on or after May 1, 1999).  The financial aid consortium agreement detailed in the appendix may be amended from time to time by the MCO Advisory Board upon recommendation of the MCO staff and the Michigan Community College Student Services Association and/or the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association.

Promotion of the Collaborative

In order to promote awareness of learning opportunities available through the MCO, each member college may include relevant information about the collaborative in official college communications, both online and in print.

Common Tuition Structure

In order to facilitate student enrollment in courses offered by provider colleges through the collaborative, a common tuition structure will be established.  This common tuition structure is described in the Appendix and may be revised from time to time by the MCO Advisory Board upon the recommendation of the MCO staff.

No additional fees will be assessed in addition to the tuition listed in the Appendix.  For purposes of assessing tuition to students enrolled in courses offered through this collaborative, anyone residing within any one of the twenty-eight public community college districts in Michigan will be charged the in-district tuition rate, all other Michigan residents will qualify for the out-district tuition rate.

Tuition Revenue Sharing

Inasmuch as it is anticipated that both the provider college and the home college will contribute significantly to the success of students enrolled through the collaborative, it is appropriate to share the revenue generated by those enrollments.  Tuition revenue will be shared in the following proportions:

Terms of this Agreement

This agreement will serve as the basis for conducting operations of the MCO.  It may be altered and/or appended upon approval of the MCCA Board of Directors.

 

Approved by MCCA Board of Directors

July 24, 2015


Appendix

MCO Financial Aid Consortium Agreement

This agreement among the Michigan community college members of the Michigan Colleges Online is to facilitate concurrently enrolled students' receipt of student financial assistance funds.  Federal eligibility regulations (34 CFR & 600.9, April 5, 1988) require this agreement.  This consortium agreement will take effect upon the signature of the President or designee of each participating member college and will govern the terms of delivery of student aid funds to students seeking financial assistance.  This consortium agreement will be modified as required by any changes to Federal eligibility requirements or regulations or by mutual agreement of the participating member colleges. 

The MCO financial aid consortium agreement includes the following provisions:

  1. A student seeking financial aid under this agreement must designate the educational credential and program that they are seeking and the institution from which they are seeking the credential.  Such an institution shall be designated as the “degree-granting” college;
  2. The institution providing the instruction for such courses as covered under this agreement shall be designated as the “provider” college;
  3. The provider college shall provide timely information on student enrollment, expense budgets, academic performance by term, and other information as requested related to these matters to the degree-granting college;
  4. Student Status Confirmation Reporting (SSCR) to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) shall be the responsibility of the degree-granting college; Enrollment status shall be reported on the basis of the total credits accepted by the degree-granting college in which the student is enrolled at participating institutions.  Enrollment status information will be exchanged at a time and in a manner agreed upon through the auspices of the Michigan Colleges Online (MCO);
  5. Students shall submit all required forms for financial assistance to the degree-granting college.  The degree-granting college shall determine special circumstances and be responsible for all professional judgment decisions and determinations related to the student, and may request the collaboration and assistance of the provider college(s) where appropriate;
  6. Materials for required student loan interviews shall be provided by the degree-granting college until a common form and procedure can be agreed upon;
  7. Satisfactory academic progress standards shall be those of the degree-granting college;
  8. Institutional refund procedures shall be those of the provider for each course enrolled in at the provider college(s).  Federal refund calculations and reporting shall be the responsibility of the degree-granting college for each student enrolled;
  9. Disbursement of financial aid funds shall be the responsibility of the degree-granting college.  Financial aid will be disbursed by semester on the basis of the student’s enrolled status as of the date designated by the degree-granting college;
  10. The degree-granting college for each student is responsible for verification.  Verification policies and procedures shall be those of the degree-granting college.

MCO Articulation Agreement

This agreement among the members of the Michigan Colleges Online is to facilitate the transfer of courses that students may take through the collaborative.  The college identified as the degree-granting college for each student (the college which offers the program of study in which the student is enrolled and will confer the certificate or degree for that student) will give appropriate credit for courses taken at “provider” colleges on the same basis as if the degree-granting college had provided that portion of the instructional program itself.  The assumption underlying this agreement is that the degree-granting college has found the instruction of the provider college to be equivalent to, and a completely acceptable substitute for, its own instruction.

The degree-granting college may decline to give credit for courses not completed satisfactorily by a student.  The degree-granting college is encouraged to include grades received in courses taken under this articulation agreement in the calculation of the student grade point average.

In order to effect this agreement, each member college will participate in a collaborative process to establish and maintain an online database of courses to be offered by provider colleges through the collaborative and the equivalent course at each MCO member college.   The content of this database will be available online to prospective students, as well as to administrators, faculty, advisors, and staff from all member colleges.  The responsibility of participating colleges will be to maintain current and accurate information in the online database regarding the transferability of courses offered by the provider colleges through the collaborative.   Each member will identify an official contact at the college to be responsible for providing information on transferability and will ensure that the official contact has regular access to electronic mail and access to the Internet.

MCO Common Tuition Structure

In order to facilitate student enrollment in courses offered by provider colleges through the collaborative, a common tuition structure will be established.  Tuition rates will be:

Tuition rates will be reviewed periodically by the MCO staff and the Michigan Community College Business Officers Association; recommendations for revision will be forwarded to the MCO Advisory Board as appropriate.

MCO Guidelines for Online Programs of Study

These guidelines identify the issues that colleges should be expected to address in the development of online programs of study to be offered through the MCO:

Online Program Development Guidelines

Curriculum Design and Development Guidelines

Faculty Support for Online Programming

Student Support Services for Online Programs of Study

     Program development addresses these services for online students:

     Student services that are accessible from the "Home College" through the MCO:

Program Assessment