While some community college students focus on a two-year vocational program to launch their careers, others look ahead to additional education to make their desired career path a reality. Many community colleges nationwide are teaming up with four-year universities to streamline the transfer process to make the second path more efficient. While this pattern has been gaining steam, new community colleges are joining the ranks this year to offer even more options to community college graduates. We’ll look at some of the latest community college transfer programs launching nationwide.
The Big Transfer Push in California
One of the biggest transfer programs to make headlines this year is in California. Currently, the state has 112 community colleges. Of that number, more than half have developed an associate degree program designed for transfer to CSU schools. According to a report in the Sacramento Business Journal, the plan's goal is to provide guaranteed associate degrees for transfer at every community college in the state. Chancellor of California Community Colleges, Jack Scott, said that the new program is still in the early stages and that much more is planned. Students currently enrolled in participating community colleges, and have taken 60 credit hours in an approved associate degree program, will be able to transfer to a CSU school with a similar major and junior standing.
According to California Community Colleges, the transfer program will save the system $160 million yearly when it is fully up and running since it will allow schools to educate more students for less money. CSU Chancellor Charles Reed added that simplifying the process for community college graduates would save students money, ensuring all credits transfer. With this program, students will not spend money on classes that do not transfer to their four-year program. Some majors currently approved for the transfer program include psychology, sociology, mathematics, administration of justice, and communication.
This video offers a look at the fast track transfer process at Sandhills Community College.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that for the 2011 fall semester, about half of all community colleges in California will be participating in the program. Some participants include Ohlone College in Fremont, City College of San Francisco, and Solano College in Fairfield. While many community colleges offer just one-degree transfer program, others, like City College of San Francisco, provide two options. Students must explore which colleges offer which majors to ensure they find the best school for their academic pursuits. It is also important to note that some programs are so new that they may not be actively advertised in course catalogs. Tom Boegel, Dean of Instruction at City College of San Francisco, called the program “a work in progress.”
Tennessee Transfer Pathway Launching this Fall
Tennessee hopes to improve graduation rates at community colleges nationwide by guaranteeing admission to a four-year college once the associate degree program is completed. The new program, dubbed Tennessee Transfer Pathway, involves 50 different career tracks, ensuring nearly every student will find the right one for him or her. According to the Commercial Appeal, the new edict will apply to all 13 of the community colleges overseen by Tennessee’s Board of Regents and the six four-year universities in the state. In addition, the program will extend to three campuses of the University of Tennessee; Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Martin. A fourth UT campus, the flagship location in Knoxville, has pulled out of the program, citing a desire to “remain competitive.” While the exemption means the campus can reject applicants if they see fit, at this point, it does not appear that they have done so.
This video explains the transfer process.
The career tracks within the program are broken down into two distinct tiers. The first encompasses 41 academic credit hours of general education. The second involves an additional 19 hours of coursework in pre-major areas of interest. The kicker to the program is that students must know relatively early what they want to major in and stick with that major throughout their college experience. Katie High, Vice President of academic affairs and student success in the UT system, told the Commercial Appeal, “The trick to this is that you’ve got to know what you want to do early on. If you change your mind, all bets are off.”
The many career tracks open for this program include the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) popular in colleges today. However, the program also incorporates different degree programs like theatre, political science, and sociology. This ensures students with a wide range of interests can find a two-year transfer program that works well with their individual career goals.
Other Schools Making Transfers Easier
Tidewater Community College in Virginia has also announced a program to make transfers easier for students who want to attend Norfolk State University after completing their two-year program. According to a report at Hampton Roads, NSU has agreed to extend certain privileges to Tidewater students, such as attending athletic events at the university for free. NSU is also providing Tidewater students with better tracking and support to ensure their transfer efforts are successful.
At Ozarks Technical Community College in Missouri, students are now finding it easier to transfer into some degree programs at the University of Missouri. According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, the transfer agreements between the two schools allow students with an associate degree in nursing to seamlessly transfer to MU’s Bachelor of Science in the nursing program. Students with an associate of arts degree can also find MU programs to advance their education.
Certainly, these programs will increase the number of transfer students between community colleges and four-year universities, opening even more career pathways and opportunities for students from all walks of life.
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