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Eastern Kentucky University and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) announced today a new transfer partnership agreement to offer a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Mountain Empire Community College (MECC).

This is the first-ever EKU program to be offered completely on-site, out of state.

"The College of Justice and Safety, EKU’s Program of Distinction, remains committed to staying at the forefront of criminal justice, corrections and police studies education throughout and beyond our region, including providing access to non-traditional students through flexible hybrid class schedules,” said Stephen Kappeler, the School of Justice Studies’ criminal justice program coordinator for regional campuses and sites. “We are honored to partner with MECC to become EKU’s first-ever out-of-state partner.”

MECC is a comprehensive two-year college serving residents of Lee, Scott, Wise and Dickenson counties, and the city of Norton. MECC is one of 23 colleges in the Virginia Community College System and operates under policies established by the State Board for Community Colleges and the Local Advisory Board. The College is financed primarily with state funds, supplemented by contributions from the local jurisdictions.

“At MECC we are dedicated to establishing meaningful partnerships that ultimately benefit our students” said Robert C. England, MECC professor of Criminal Justice. “We are excited to join efforts with EKU to provide cutting-edge programs now and in the future.”

The new partnership will allow associate of applied science degrees in correctional services and Police Science transfer students to complete the entire program at MECC beginning in the Fall 2019 semester by taking a combination of in-person and blended E-Presence classes that meet every other week. E-Presence is an internet-based videoconferencing system used to deliver instruction in a synchronous format. The partnership is designed to allow students to complete the EKU degree in just one year by taking six classes per semester.

The School of Justice Studies at EKU is a nationally-recognized “School of Distinction.” Dr. Victor Kappeler, dean of EKU’s College of Justice and Safety, emphasized the importance of the partnership. “EKU offers a top undergraduate degree in criminal justice alongside a commitment to social justice at large and the empowering value of education for all groups of people. EKU is shaping the criminal justice landscape for future generations and will continue its tradition of excellence.”

Dr. Ryan Wilson, senior director of regional programming, emphasized the importance of the new partnership. “I am proud of the regional criminal justice program for bringing the nationally-ranked bachelor’s of science in criminal justice to Virginia. The regional criminal justice program has changed the lives of many students in EKU’s service region and beyond. I’m excited for the students of Mountain Empire Community College.”

Students transferring from MECC may be eligible for one of EKU’s Transfer Student Scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $4,000, annually. Students transferring from other accredited programs who live in certain markets may qualify for additional assistance through the Selective Merit Aid/Reduced Tuition (SMART) Program.

For transfer students entering EKU in the fall of 2019, the SMART Program will save them more than $8,000 in annual out-of-state tuition costs. Transfer students receiving the SMART rate are not eligible for other transfer scholarships but may qualify for federal aid as well as departmental and foundation scholarships offered by EKU.

Interested students can attend an EKU Criminal Justice Information Session on April 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at MECC. For additional information on the information session or the regional campus criminal justice degree program at EKU, contact Stephen Kappeler at or 859-622-6710, or visit