Edvance Foundation Calls for Creation of a National College Transfer Partnership as a Path to Enhance American Higher Education
New report unveils nationwide research about the community college transfer process, identifies improved access to four-year institutions as a national imperative
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 18, 2015 – Today, the Edvance Foundation issued a call-to-action for American higher education in its new report, Strengthening the Transfer Pathway from Community to Four-Year Private Colleges. Based on original and existing research about the transfer process from community college to four-year institutions, the report provides an analysis and set of recommendations for creating a national college transfer partnership. Such an effort would improve the transfer process, enabling increased access and opportunity to community college students across America. The report was developed in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.
“Education is a critical contributor to success in this country, not only for the students involved but also for the prosperity of the nation as a whole,” said Arthur J. Rothkopf, chair emeritus, Edvance Foundation, and president emeritus, Lafayette College. “Our report highlights the potential of an often overlooked segment of the student population – community college students and transfers – and it maps out a crucial first step toward increasing the number who go on to receive their bachelor’s degrees and providing greater opportunities for those most in need of academic upward mobility.”
Four out of five first-time community college students say they eventually want to earn a bachelor’s degree. Unfortunately, only 25% succeed in transferring to a four-year institution within five years, and only 17% achieve their goal of earning a bachelor’s degree within six years of transferring. The Edvance Foundation, seeking to improve access to higher education and address barriers to social mobility, explored ways to bridge the gap between aspirations and reality for the 13 million community college students in the United States.
“By making the transfer process less complicated and providing appropriate support along the way, we can increase the flow of community college graduates to four-year private colleges and universities and enhance students’ prospects for success – in school, in work, and in life,” said Brian C. Mitchell, chair, Edvance Foundation and former president, Bucknell University. “The learnings from our own research, combined with analysis of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Community College Transfer Initiative, revealed quantitative and qualitative evidence of missed opportunities in the college transfer process, clear steps that both two- and four-year institutions can take, and a willingness from leaders in the higher education community to join forces with us as we address this critical national issue.”
The report’s recommendations for a national college transfer partnership are based on the largest-ever survey of transfer practices at private, four-year undergraduate institutions, administered by Human Capital Research Corporation; discussions with roughly 800 college and university presidents and practitioners from 18 states; and findings from the Cooke Foundation’s Community College Transfer Initiative, a pilot program designed to help high-achieving, low- to moderate-income community college students transfer successfully to four-year baccalaureate programs.
Based on the research findings, the Edvance Foundation identified five core components for smoothing the transfer pathway:
- Early identification of promising students, together with concentrated academic support as they prepare to transfer to private colleges, and regular evaluation of their readiness for these demanding institutions.
- Establishment of virtual bridge programs, delivered through mobile technology, to strengthen academic and soft skills and promote college and career readiness.
- Support for 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.
To apply these best practices on a national level, the Edvance report offers detailed recommendations for two- and four-year institutions as well as for partners who stand to benefit from a more diverse and better-prepared student and graduate population.
“Increasing access to higher education is a national social and economic imperative. Only by removing the existing obstacles to a seamless educational pathway can we chart a new, more inclusive future for American higher education,” said Margaret Daniels Tyler, former Gates Foundation Senior Program Officer, Managing Partner at TheTylerGroup, LLC, and educational consultant. “Implementation of Edvance’s proposals will ensure that deserving and hard-working students can contribute to society to their fullest potential. We invite national, state, and local partners to join us as we push this initiative forward.”
About the Edvance Foundation
The Edvance Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing American higher education through the development of bold, sustainable solutions that address the most pressing challenges facing students and institutions of higher education in the 21st century. The Foundation provides the expertise, resources, foresight, clarity, and ingenuity that educational institutions need to deliver lasting benefits to their students, their organizations, and the American higher education system as a whole.