Cowley County Community College and Area Vocational-Technical School, commonly referred to as Cowley College, is a two-year college and vocational / technical school located in Arkansas City, Kansas.
Established in 1922 as Arkansas City Junior College, most of the school’s initial classes were held in the basement of a local high school. It was not until 1952 that the institution nicknamed “Basement University” moved to its own building – Galle-Johnson Hall.
Today, the school is recognized nationally for its classroom quality and the success of its graduates. In addition to the main Arkansas City campus, the school operates four satellite locations in Winfield, Wichita, Mulvane, and Wellington as well as distance learning programs at nine local high schools.
Cowley received its current name in is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Offering over 70 majors and degree possibilities, Cowley has become known as one of the state’s leading schools. Students can pursue associate’s degrees as well as technical certificates. Many students transfer to four-year universities or advanced technical programs after studying at the college.
Class sizes are small and tuition is affordable, allowing the institution to provide its students with a comprehensive post-high school experience, offering programs designed to meet specific expectations and goals. The college functions upon a base of core values that include a strong support system, community development and ethics.
Degrees, programs, and certificates are organized into six academic departments:
- Business, Computers & Information Technology
- Health and Human Services
- Career and Technical Education
- Natural Science and Mathematics
- Social Science
Each department includes several majors and programs intended to prepare students to meet their specific educational and/or professional goals. Popular fields of study at include Liberal Arts & Sciences, Airframe Mechanics and Airframe Maintenance Technology, Cosmetology, Welding Technology and Industrial Radiologic Technology. Dozens of other possibilities exist, ranging from Criminal Justice to Theatre to Business Management.
Cowley’s curriculum consists of both general education and occupational education courses. General education classes, which are held in the areas of natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, are comparable to the lower-division courses at four-year Kansas state universities. These courses are of interest to both students looking to transfer to four-year institutions and to those engaged in occupational training.
Occupational education courses are offered in the areas of business, service and industrial technology, some of which may be used to transfer to select advanced technical education programs. Courses that fall within this category are developed alongside representatives of state and local government and business industry professionals to ensure that the information they provide to students is up-to-date and relevant.
Most Popular Fields of Study
In addition to degree and certificate programs, Cowley offers various continuing education programs for professionals. These are a mixture of credit and non-credit courses. Some, such as the Allied Health program, serve as forms of recertification. Others are geared towards business and industry training and safety.
The Adult Education Program can help adults who lack high school diplomas or wish to improve their writing, math, and computer skills.
The Golden Tigers program is a set of short-term workshops and courses geared toward adults over the age of 50. Senior citizens looking to enrich their lives can participate in fitness classes, spiritual courses, cultural programs and take day trips with others of the same age group while having fun and making new friends. This program fosters a relationship between Cowley College, its students, and the community.
Depending on their program of study, students can attend class on campus, online, or a hybrid blend of the two. In addition, interactive Television (ITV) eLearning courses are offered year round in the school’s ITV rooms. eLearning gives students the opportunity to complete courses that did not have enough students to hold full classes on site. Cowley also offers affordable non-credit continuing education courses online.
High school juniors and seniors may take community college courses for dual enrollment or concurrent high school and college credit through the Concurrent Academic Partnership
for Secondary Students (CAPSS) program.
Applications are accepted year-round for fall, spring and summer semesters. Admission rates are high as long as prospective students meet all minimum requirements, although it is important to note that the institution is selective in some programs. Unlike most colleges and universities, Cowley does not charge an application fee.
Prospective students must submit all high school and college transcripts along with their completed applications. Standardized test scores are not necessary unless specified. Placement tests in reading, English writing and mathematics are required of most entering students.
The college makes all efforts to make education affordable for its students. However, federal financial assistance is available for students who qualify. Interested students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal aid programs offered at Cowley are Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Federal Work Study, and the Federal Direct Loan Program.
Other financial aid programs are offered directly from the college. These include numerous scholarships as well as institutional work study jobs.
Students may consult the Financial Aid office for assistance applying for financial aid.
Student Financial Aid Details
Though roughly half of its students are part-time, the institution does a fine job of fostering a strong sense of community and getting involved with all of its 4,500 students. Six dormitories house nearly 500 residents and provide students with free internet, cable, laundry, wellness center membership, computer labs and 24-hour security. Meal plans are available as well.
All students are welcome and encouraged to participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities. The institution offers a comprehensive intramural sports program that includes volleyball, softball, flag football, table tennis, and pool. It offers both instrumental and vocal music activities, including groups that perform various types of music at local and statewide events.
Cowley also has many student-run clubs based around various topics and themes. While at one cafeteria table it’s possible to overhear members of the Film Club discussing the approach of the Academy Awards, at another one may come across Young Republicans talking about possible candidates for the upcoming presidential election.
Though fraternities and sororities are not present on campus, there are two Greek organizations meant to honor scholarship among its students. The first – Phi Theta Kappa – seeks to recognize and promote scholarship among two-year college students. To be eligible for membership, students must possess a GPA of 3.5 or higher and have completed at least 12 credit hours in their respective degree programs. The second Greek organization encountered at Cowley is Mu Alpha Sigma Chi, a club meant to promote excellence and advancement in the areas of math and science. Both organizations are open to all students, both male and female, and reflect Cowley’s commitment to academic excellence.
Student Enrollment Demographics
The Cowley Tigers, a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, participate in baseball, basketball, tennis, softball, track and field, cross country, cheerleading and golf. Though its varsity football program was discontinued in 1983, both men’s and women’s soccer were added to the Cowley athletics list in 2008.
A member of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Athletic Conference, Cowley found success in baseball in the late 1990s. The Cowley Baseball Team won two consecutive NJCAA World Series Championships in 1997 and 1998. In one of those years, current Cleveland Indians designated hitter Travis Hafter was a member of the team.
Alumni and locals are encouraged to cheer for the school’s athletics program, inviting them to watch games and asking for their support in the Cowley Athletics Booster Club.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.