Transfer students lose nearly half of the credits they attempt to bring to their new institution—and that’s just one of the many barriers they face. Only 23% of community college students who intend to attain a bachelor’s degree successfully earn a one within eight years, and many students accumulate unnecessary debt in the process.
In an effort to better support transfer students, East Carolina University (ECU) and 14 surrounding community colleges—including Pitt Community College (PCC)—partnered to make the process easier. Now, students at PCC who commit to at least 12 semester hours gain automatic admission to ECU after two years.
“They complete their associates degree here at PCC whether it’s in the associates of arts, associates of science, associates in fine arts, associates in engineering, then upon completion of that and completing all other admission requirements to ECU they are guaranteed admissions to ECU,” explains Thomas Gould, vice president of academic affairs at PCC.
This partnership also requires students to complete only one application after earning an associate degree and pay only one application fee. And students have access to ECU’s libraries, scholarship opportunities, and academic advisers.
“They really are students at their home community college and ECU from the beginning,” notes Dr. Christopher Locklear, vice provost for academic success at ECU.
“Concurrent admission programs are popping up across the sector,” explains EAB director Christina Hubbard. “Though details vary, students are generally admitted to their community college and university at the same time. You can look at it as ‘conditional acceptance’: as soon as they complete the requirements, they make the transition to their four-year without having to re-apply. My hunch is that these programs will continue to expand.”
In fact, George Mason University (GMU) and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) are implementing a similar transfer partnership. Though the two colleges have had long-standing transfer agreements, they weren’t enough to ensure a smooth transition for students hoping to earn a bachelor’s degree from Virginia’s largest public university.
Now, students from NOVA can transfer to GMU after two years, saving students nearly a full year of tuition and fees. “We exist to serve our community, and we do that by being a top-notch research university and by providing access to the broadest segment of our population. We cannot do the second part without these guys,” explains GMU president Ángel Cabrera (Gann, WNCT, 6/9/18; Douglas-Gabriel, Washington Post, 4/3/17).