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The University of New OrleansÕ new president Dr. John Nicklow speaks at the the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) and IBERIABANK hosted ÒBreakfast Briefing: Revitalizing the University of New Orleans" at the Pan American Life building in New Orleans, La. Thursday, July 21, 2016.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON

A new bridge program between the University of New Orleans and Delgado Community College will automatically admit low-scoring UNO applicants to Delgado, from which — if they complete their initial coursework in good standing — they'll then be admitted to UNO.

Under the terms of the initiative, participating students would be required to finish their developmental coursework, earn at least 12 hours of non-developmental college credits and maintain a minimum 2.25 GPA at Delgado to transfer to UNO — a process that could last about a year, UNO said in an announcement Friday.

As transfer students continue their studies at UNO, they'll be able to use their credits there to earn an associate degree from Delgado.

That aspect of the pact has several advantages, officials said: It steers the initially low-scoring students into the higher education pipeline without the added hassle or cost of applying to another school, and even if they don't earn a bachelor's degree at UNO, they can still walk away with an associate degree from Delgado.

The arrangement is also aimed at boosting both schools' enrollment figures and completion rates.

“The process of reverse articulation, where the credits earned at UNO are transferred back to Delgado, is in line with national best practices for college completion,” UNO President John Nicklow said in a news release.

The arrangement is one of Nicklow's various pushes to boost UNO's enrollment numbers a year after the Lakefront school's head count fell to its lowest level since 1967.

UNO's enrollment last fall — 8,423 students — was less than half of what it was before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Nicklow's target is for UNO to have 12,000 students in five years, which would represent a 42 percent increase. This fall's figures have yet to be released.

In 2015, UNO had 372 new students who transferred from Delgado, down from 438 a year earlier, UNO spokesman Adam Norris said.

UNO, the city's major public four-year university, has long looked to bridge admissions with Delgado, a two-year community college.

After stricter admissions standards for public universities were implemented statewide in 2012, UNO officials had hoped more students would enroll at Delgado and later transfer to UNO. But that didn't happen: Delgado’s enrollment fell too, and its transfers to UNO dropped off by about a quarter.

In a separate pact, the two schools have also renewed a cross-enrollment agreement that's been in place for a quarter-century, allowing full-time students to take courses at the other school if the course is not offered at their home institution.

There typically have been about 20 students cross-enrolled at the two schools in recent years, Norris said.

Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.