The leaders of St. Ambrose University, the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and Black Hawk College announced an agreement Monday they said will help local community college students plot a clear path to a bachelor’s degree.

The dual admission agreements between the colleges will allow students at Black Hawk, Scott Community College, Clinton Community College and Muscatine Community College to begin meeting with academic advisers from St. Ambrose while they are still enrolled in community college.

Students who enroll in the program also will receive a St. Ambrose student ID, which will give them access to the campus library, career development center, physical education center and athletic and fine arts events on campus. They also will receive a $1,000 scholarship at St. Ambrose.

In the past 10 years, about 85 percent of the 2,500 community college students who have transferred to St. Ambrose have come from the local community colleges, St. Ambrose President Joan Lescinski said.

Lescinski said the agreement will allow students to “forge a sense of belonging” at St. Ambrose while still in community college, making the transition to St. Ambrose easier.

She said the top concern of community college students who want to earn a bachelor’s degree is how many of their credits will transfer to the college or university of their choice.

Under the dual admission agreement, those questions will be answered well in advance, making the process easier, Lescinski said.

Don Doucette, chancellor of the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, said the transition process to St. Ambrose will be as simple as “walking across the street.”

“This is a wonderful agreement and a wonderful thing for our students,” he said.

Black Hawk College President Thomas Baynum said community colleges spend a lot of time helping students find a path to the future they want and the agreement between the colleges helps make that path clear.

“This is very, very, very powerful,” he said.