Edvance Proposes Partnerships to Help Community College Students Transfer

Posted By Eliana Osborn on December 10, 2015 at 9:42 am
Edvance Proposes Partnerships to Help Community College Students Transfer

Once you finish an associate’s degree at the community college level, you’ll need to take the next step in your education at another institution.  That means transferring.  While lots of students need to do it, the transition from one school to another often doesn’t go smoothly.  Initiatives at specific universities have tried to make the process more transparent, but this help is not available everywhere.

The Edvance Foundation is a nonprofit group working to improve higher education in big ways.  They are proposing a national partnership to help community college students transfer to four-year schools.  According to Inside Higher Ed, “The goal of the partnership is to identify community college students who are interested in transferring to private colleges and help them to do so.”

80% of community college students say they want to continue on to a bachelor’s degree, but only 25% make the transfer.  Edvance hopes to change those statistics.

After extensive research, Edvance has identified five things needed to make transferring work better.  The Strengthening the Transfer Pathway report lists them:

  • Early identification of promising students, with concentrated academic support and regular evaluation of their readiness;
  • Establishment of virtual bridge programs to strengthen academic and soft skills and to promote college and career readiness;
  • Support of rigorous, discipline-based study at community colleges;
  • Creation of a network of mentors for two-year students staffed through regional offices;
  • Emphasis on data collection and analysis to inform college transfer programs.

While we are getting more and more students enrolled in college, completion rates at all levels are actually decreasing.  The numbers are particularly discouraging for community college students.  Only 20% of full-time community college students complete their associate’s degree within three years, and just 15% more get it done within five years.  Those students who manage to transfer to four-year schools, merely 17% are able to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years.

Many factors make transferring from community college difficult, and the many places students head to can be challenging for advisors to keep up with.  The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation provides national scholarships and assistance for young people taking the leap to further education.  As more community colleges apply the successful strategies implemented by the Cooke Foundation and identified by Edvance, standards for transferring can be put in place.

Community college is a great first step of higher education, but it won’t be enough for careers of the future, as employers are increasingly demanding a more educated workforce.  Transfer pathways are a crucial improvement needed to help community college students successfully transition into four-year institutions.

Eliana Osborn
Eliana Osborn is an associate English professor at Arizona Western College, with degrees from Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona University. She’s published widely in forums such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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