How to Guarantee Your Admission to a State University after Community College

How to Guarantee Your Admission to a State University after Community College
Learn about the strategies you can take to guarantee your admission to a state university once you have completed community college in states like Hawaii, Virginia, California, and New Hampshire.

In these times of tighter family budgets and increased competition for admission to four-year universities, community college students may worry about their prospects for transferring to a university after earning an associate’s degree.

However, many students can put their minds at ease, especially if you live in an area where your local community colleges have entered into guaranteed admission agreements with four-year state universities. What follows is an overview of some states that are leading the way in guaranteed admission and articulation agreements:

Abigal Endsley writes on, one of the leading providers of educational materials: "So before contacting your local community college, first decide what degree you want and where you want to graduate from. This—admittedly—is a monster of a task in and of itself. (If you want some help with it, I recommend our free ebook What Should I Major In?)

Then you’ll need to know what’s required to earn that specific degree from that specific school. What kinds of courses do you need? What subject? What specificity? What level? Check the college’s website for this information. If you’ve never done this research before, it may feel like drinking from a fire hose. Our crash course on college course codes may help.

Once you understand what degree you want, where you want to earn it from, and your degree’s specific college credit requirements, only then can you can begin researching which of those credits you can transfer from a community college."


The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that starting in the 2010-11 school year, students who earn an associate’s degree from any of the seven community colleges under the University of Hawaii System will automatically be accepted to the University of Hawaii-Manoa, University of Hawaii-Hilo, or the University of Hawaii-West Oahu.

The University of Hawaii will also waive admission fees for these students, and it will make these students eligible for early registration at any of the state system’s four-year colleges.

This video offers an overview of Hawaii Community College.

New Hampshire

The state of New Hampshire offers its community colleges a similar guarantee. Its Connections Program, according to the Community College Times, allows students who take at least 12 credits per semester for two consecutive semesters at any of the state’s seven community colleges to automatically be accepted to the University of New Hampshire or other state schools, as long as the students earned a grade of “C” or better in all of their classes. As in Hawaii, students who are automatically accepted to the state university do not have to pay an application fee.


The highly regarded University of Virginia also has a program designed to make the transfer process for high-achieving community college students seamless.

The Virginia-based Reston Connection newspaper reports that Northern Virginia Community College has an agreement with the University of Virginia in which students who earn an associate’s degree from the community college and meet certain course and GPA requirements are guaranteed acceptance to the four-year university.

The requirements for guaranteed admission include a GPA of at least 3.4 on a 4.0 scale, a grade of “C” or better in all community college classes and a grade of “B” or better in two required English classes, and a transcript showing that the student has taken a required number of credits in foreign language, social science, humanities, historical studies, and “non-Western perspectives.”

Northern Virginia Community College does not stop here, however. It also has guaranteed admission agreements with “about 38 other colleges and universities,” according to the Reston Connection. The colleges and universities that have entered into these agreements with the community college include prestigious private schools such as Georgetown and the College of William and Mary, along with various state schools.


Oregon’s Umpqua Community College boasts a number of articulation agreements with private and public universities within the state. Although articulation agreements do not mean that a student is guaranteed admission to these universities, they assure students that their credits earned at the community college will transfer towards their four-year degree.


15 Massachusetts community colleges participate in the state’s MassTransfer program (formerly known as the Commonwealth Transfer Compact), under which students who complete a designated transfer associate’s degree program and fulfill minimum GPA requirements at a community college are guaranteed admission to one of ten participating state colleges and universities, including the University of Massachusetts. The MassTransfer website, created by the state’s Department of Higher Education, offers a complete list of community college programs that can lead to guaranteed admission to corresponding programs at state colleges.


Under Florida’s 2+2 articulation program, students who earn associate’s degrees at one of the state’s community colleges are guaranteed admission to one of the state’s four-year universities, although they are not necessarily guaranteed admission to their first-choice school. The University of Central Florida participates in an additional program under which Floridian community college graduates who meet certain requirements are guaranteed admission to UCF.

This video offers an overview of Florida's Community Colleges.


Students who earn an associate’s degree from one of California’s community colleges, maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, and complete various course credit requirements are guaranteed admission to one of the campuses in the University of California system, though not necessarily to their first-choice campus.

These programs are growing in popularity, as many students realize that they can save significantly on tuition costs while guaranteeing admission to a desirable four-year university by enrolling in certain approved community college programs. Students who take the time to investigate the articulation and guaranteed admission programs in their states may find their efforts well rewarded both financially and academically.

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @communitycollegereview

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