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HBC's higher-level degrees touted as 'significant' step

June 20, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - For alumni of Hagerstown Business College, returning to school could get even easier.

Executive Director W. Christopher Motz announced Tuesday that the college, which offers associate degrees in business, allied health and other programs, will begin offering bachelor's degrees.

Ryan Boyer, 21, of Hagerstown, was one of several recent alumni on hand when Motz made the announcement during an open house. Boyer said he's interested in going back to the school, where he earned an associate degree in applied science last year.

"Makes me look better, that's for sure. Definitely want a bachelor's over an associate's wherever you go. It looks better," said Boyer, who was wearing a shirt promoting Innovative Inc., a computer business for which he works.

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Motz said the college will begin offering bachelor's programs in business administration and information technology. The new classes will further the educations of students who already have earned associate degrees in those fields, and college officials would like to expand the college's other two programs - allied health and legal studies - to allow students to earn bachelor's degrees.

"We are under-served and, apart from that, we want to help improve the educational attainment level of the citizens in this area," said Motz, who called the addition of the higher-level programs "one of the most significant achievements in the life of this college."

Begun in 1938, Hagerstown Business College once included the Maryland Medical Secretarial School and the National Legal Secretarial School, according to its Web site. It offers many of the same types of courses that would be standard fare for underclassmen at many other colleges and universities - introduction to economics, abnormal psychology, English composition and art appreciation are some of its dozens of offerings.

Motz said he was not sure how many students would be interested in the new programs. Of the approximately 680 students at the college, Motz estimated about 90 are in the business administration program and 70 are in computer-related programs.

Motz said the offerings of higher-level classes would depend on interest and he did not know when the college would begin awarding bachelor's degrees.

Most of the year-round college's students attend full time, Motz said.

Librarian Carol Bailey, who is in her 14th year at the college, expressed excitement about one side effect of the program expansion - she'll get to know students even better.

"I think it will be fun to get to know the students for a longer period of time because two years goes by very fast, and before you know it, they're graduated, and they're gone," Bailey said.

For some alumni, including Boyer, the opportunity to return is enticing.

A 2005 graduate, Jason Myers, 33, also wore a shirt promoting the computer business for which he works. He said the college sent him information about the new programs.

"It piqued my interest because I already had the two years worth of credits here. I didn't have to worry about transferring my credits or starting over again at another four-year school," said Myers, of Greencastle, Pa.

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