Courtesy of MCC
Manchester Community College (Courtesy of MCC)

HARTFORD, CT—The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) has received a three-year implementation grant to develop a smoother transfer program between community colleges and four-year independent colleges in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with a focus on the liberal arts.

In Connecticut, NEBHE is partnering with the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC) and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) to establish the Independent College Transfer Guarantee, which will ensure acceptance at an independent four-year institution for students graduating from a community college with an associate degree.

The grant is co-funded by the Teagle Foundation and the Davis Educational Foundation.

Students who meet eligibility criteria under the guarantee will be able to transfer as juniors, with no credit loss, and be fully prepared to successfully complete a bachelor’s degree. The guarantee promotes equity, opportunity and access in higher education.

The program will assure acceptance at an independent nonprofit four-year institution for students graduating from a community college with an associate degree. The overarching aim of the project is for students who meet eligibility criteria and are covered under the guarantee, to be able to transfer as juniors and be fully prepared to successfully complete a bachelor’s degree

“Stronger links between our two-year institutions and our outstanding independent colleges and universities simply makes sense,” Michael K. Thomas, president and CEO of NEBHE, said. “The Guarantee will expand the range of high-quality, affordable bachelor’s degree programs available – benefiting our students, our institutions and our workforce.”

Thomas said may community college students in Connecticut have “found our members to be an accessible and affordable option for transfer to complete their bachelor’s degree in a timely manner.”

CCSU President Mark Ojakian was also enthusiastic about the initiative.

“Through the transfer and articulation policy, Connecticut has become a national leader in allowing community college graduates to seamlessly transfer from two-year to four-year institutions,” Ojakian said. “We look forward to partnering with CCIC and NEBHE on this important project.”

Ojakian added: “This is one of so many reasons that Connecticut students should consider one of our community colleges, which provide top quality educational opportunities close to home at an affordable price tag.”

Ojakian said the guarantee garnered overwhelming support for the initiative, with 73 institutions in the three states pledging their commitment to participate in the upcoming design phase.

The following Connecticut schools have signed up to participate: Albertus Magnus College, Asnuntuck Community College, Capital Community College, Connecticut College, Fairfield University, Gateway Community College, Goodwin College, Housatonic Community College, Manchester Community College, Middlesex Community College, Mitchell College, Naugatuck Valley Community College, Northwestern Connecticut Community College, Norwalk Community College, Quinebaug Valley Community College, Quinnipiac University, Sacred Heart University, Three Rivers Community College, Trinity College, Tunxis Community College, University of Bridgeport, University of New Haven, University of Saint Joseph, University of Hartford.

Participation is voluntary.

Officials said the guarantee will mitigate credit loss, increase persistence and degree completion, meet geographic needs of students who lack proximity to a public four-year institution.

They said it will support a student-centered approach to transfer by matching diverse student learning styles and providing high-caliber student support and career services, as well as institutional financial incentives. The initiative will bolster economic development by helping to retain students in their states after graduation.