FastTracks — a program that lets students earn a Metropolitan Community College associate degree and a Northwest Missouri State bachelor’s degree in four years without leaving the Kansas City area — is enrolling students and will launch in August.
“We’re excited about FastTracks,” says Andy Minor, enrollment manager at MCC-Maple Woods. “We’re looking to get it off the ground this fall and then expand it going into the 2019-20 academic year.”
The program targets students who (a) plan to major in business management, elementary education, communication (public relations emphasis) or applied health science and (b) want to transfer to Northwest Missouri State in Maryville. But they never have to set foot on the Maryville campus, because Northwest’s FastTracks classes are offered at the Northwest-Kansas City campus in Gladstone. (Once students complete their MCC associate degree, they do have the option of taking their Northwest classes in Maryville if they’d prefer.)
The first two years, FastTracks participants will take mostly MCC classes, but each semester also includes one or two Northwest classes at the Gladstone campus. For instance, Minor says, students on the elementary education track would take Northwest education classes that MCC doesn’t offer those first four semesters, along with MCC general education classes.
Most FastTracks students will probably opt to attend MCC-Maple Woods in Kansas City North — the campus closest to Northwest’s KC location — but they don’t have to. Minor says one student enrolled for this fall will be taking classes at MCC-Longview in Lee’s Summit.
Throughout the four years, FastTracks students are enrolled at both institutions. One perk of being a Northwest student is use of a free laptop, which FastTracks students will receive that first semester. The cost of primary textbook rental for Northwest classes is also included. Another benefit: Students pay the MCC tuition rate for the Northwest classes they take in the first two years.
When FastTracks was announced in April 2017, the plan was to start it that fall. Officials later decided to delay the launch.