Northern Arizona University’s 2NAU joint admission program with community colleges has won a statewide award for helping students earn college degrees.

The Arizona College Access Network, a program of the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education, will present a 2011 Pathways to Postsecondary Education Award to NAU during a breakfast ceremony in Tempe on Nov. 18.

“Our 2NAU partnerships encourage community college students to complete both their associate’s and bachelor’s degrees,” said Brenda Sutton, associate dean of NAU Extended Campuses. “The program emphasizes the importance of earning a bachelor’s degree in order to be competitive in the workforce.”

2NAU students are jointly admitted to a community college and NAU. Students receive intensive guidance from both institutions in exploring and preparing for career options while completing their community college curriculum. Students save money by completing their first two years at the community college tuition rate.

Sutton said the joint admission program also helps students begin to think early on in their postsecondary education about earning a four-year degree.

“Not only is the 2NAU program designed to help students ultimately earn a bachelor’s degree, it is designed to remove obstacles students often experience when transitioning from a community college to a university,” Sutton said. “Students meet regularly with advisers from both institutions to monitor their steady progress, offer motivation and support, and to provide a pathway to the university that is as seamless as possible.”

Since the university launched the 2NAU program four years ago, more than 1,500 students have signed up for the program throughout eight community college districts.

“Our enrollment numbers are already significant and we expect them to grow,” Sutton said.

2NAU students also receive a waived NAU application fee, an NAU ID card, email address, Cline Library privileges and more. Students who complete their associate’s degree with a 3.5 GPA or better qualify for an NAU scholarship for up to $4,000.

The Pathways to Postsecondary Education Awards are being celebrated during the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education annual conference designed to reinforce relationships among leaders in postsecondary education, policy and business. This year’s conference theme is “Developing Human Capital: Arizona’s Race to Good Jobs.” Information is online.