Program boosts community college transfers
A Community College Transfer Initiative launched four years ago by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation greatly increased the volume of students transferring from community colleges to eight selective four-year colleges.
By supporting the transfer process at receiving schools, the initiative dramatically boosted community college transfers to some of the nation's most prestigious schools: Amherst College, Bucknell University, Cornell University, Mount Holyoke College, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina and the University of Southern California. A report on the initiative, "Partnerships that Promote Success," was released this month.
Among the eight schools, the initiative yielded 550 transfers in the 2007-08 academic year. By 2009-10, transfer enrollment had risen to 1,723.
The University of Michigan enrolled 1,104 community college transfers as of 2009-10; Mount Holyoke, 275; Berkeley, 245; Cornell, 113.
Transfer from community college to a four-year institution is an efficient pathway both for students and taxpayers: Students can complete the first two years of college for a fraction of the cost of a four-year institution, then finish with a degree from a prestigious four-year institution.
Virginia officials have increased transfers by rolling out a new generation of transfer agreements that guarantee enrollment at state universities to students who complete a modest list of criteria. In Maryland, new statewide associate's degrees greatly simplify the transfer process.
The Cooke Foundation initiative worked with community colleges and with individual students to ease the transfer process.
Tellingly, the analysis found that "a willingness to negotiate" on such matters as awarding credit for community college coursework was "often more effective" in promoting transfers than formal agreements.
Four-year colleges can thwart the transfer process by being unreceptive to community college students and inflexible in awarding credit for their community college coursework.
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Daniel de Vise
| September 20, 2010; 3:45 PM ET
Categories: Access, Admissions, Community Colleges, Public policy, Research | Tags: Jack Kent Cooke transfer initiative, community college transfers, community colleges
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