Representatives from Southeast Community College and Doane University stand behind branded materials to celebrate the signing of an institutional agreement between the two institutions.
Doane and Southeast Community College signed an institutional agreement Monday, Sept. 26. This is the first institutional agreement for the two higher ed institutions, although SCC and Doane had previously held articulation agreements for individual degree programs. With the new agreement, students transferring from SCC to Doane will have a cost-effective, streamlined transition. (L-R) Dr. Paul Illich, president of SCC; Dr. Joel Michaelis, vice president of instruction at SCC; Dr. Lorie Cook-Benjamin, chief academic officer; and Dr. Roger Hughes, president of Doane.

Students completing their associate’s degrees at Southeast Community College now have the option of making a cost-effective, seamless transition into a related bachelor’s degree through Doane University. The Associate’s to Bachelor’s, or “A’s to B’s”, partnership between SCC and Doane allows for new transfers to receive either reduced tuition while attending Doane courses in Lincoln or online, or a grant to attend Doane’s residential campus in Crete.

Dr. Roger Hughes, Doane’s president and 1982 alumnus, and Dr. Paul Illich, president of SCC, signed the institutional agreement cementing the partnership Monday at SCC’s Jack J. Huck Continuing Education Center.

“We’re very excited about these agreements and the opportunities they present to students,” Hughes said. “No matter where an SCC student is in their educational journey or in their career, with this agreement, they have a clear, cost-effective route to attaining a bachelor’s degree at Doane.”

The partnership has been several months in the making, after Hughes and Illich met prior to Hughes’s inauguration in April 2022, and involved the work of dozens of Doane and SCC employees. Although Doane and SCC have previously created articulation agreements to encourage students to transfer for specific programs, this is the first time the two have partnered to build an institutional agreement, which opens transfers to many more academic programs, athletics and performing arts.

“What’s special about community college is that we really try to be open access. And what I think that means, to truly be open to all students, is you have to be affordable, you have to offer the courses they’re interested in, and you have to offer them at times when they’re available,” Illich said. “But are we really open access if a student comes to SCC and wants a four-year degree, and we aren’t collaborating with Doane and our other four-year partners? That’s what makes us truly open access, and that’s what I think about as we sign this institutional agreement, those pathways we’re sharing to our students who want a bachelor’s degree and the benefits that come with it.”

Illich said SCC offers many academic programs that align well with programs offered at Doane’s residential Crete campus, Lincoln and Omaha campus locations, and online.

“This was a partnership that we really wanted to invest in,” said Dr. Joel Michaelis, vice president of instruction at SCC. “It’s a terrific way for us to provide clear pathways and substantial savings to our students who want to continue in a bachelor’s degree program, many of whom already choose Doane for the next step in their education.”

With the completion of the agreement, the institutions’ enrollment and admissions teams will work together to iron out individual program requirements. More than 50 degree programs from SCC are currently listed as options for students to transfer into around 18 of Doane’s degrees in similar disciplines. This number may change as the process moves forward and vary by campus location.

“This is a great opportunity for students, whether they want to have a residential campus experience in Crete or complete a bachelor’s degree while working or caring for family,” said Dr. Lorie Cook-Benjamin, chief academic officer. “One of the key pieces that Doane offers transfer students is that flexibility to receive their degree on their terms.”

For an SCC student who transitions to an undergraduate program taught at Doane’s Lincoln or Omaha campus locations, or online, the university will provide early advising and orientation programs exclusively for transfer students. Tuition will also be reduced by 15% for students transferring from SCC, on a per-credit hour basis for up to two-and-a-half years for a student who remains continuously enrolled while pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Doane.

For an SCC student who transitions to a bachelor’s degree program on Doane’s Crete (residential) campus, Doane will provide early advising and orientation programs exclusively for transfer students, and will provide an annual $20,000 SCC partnership grant for four semesters of consecutive and continued enrollment. Student-athletes transferring from SCC are also invited to have conversations with coaches about continuing in athletics at the NAIA level in baseball, basketball, cross country, golf (men’s only), soccer, softball and volleyball. Students may also continue in Doane’s performing arts programs.

The agreement takes immediate effect.

For more information about transferring to Doane, visit