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Contact: Heather Jack
Voice: 408-792-3144
E-mail: hjack@highereducation.org

September 3, 2002


State Policy Can Make a Difference In Student Transfer Performance

San Jose, CA--Effective state policies make a difference for students transferring between community colleges and four-year colleges and universities, according to a new study released by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and the Institute for Higher Education Policy. The success of community college-baccalaureate transfer is central to whether students enroll in and complete college in a timely manner, as well as whether college is affordable to students and taxpayers, according to State Policy and Community College-Baccalaureate Transfer.

"The bachelor's degree is becoming the gateway to the workplace for many students," said Jane Wellman, Senior Associate of the Institute of Higher Education Policy and author of the study. "Community college transfer is an effective route to the baccalaureate and is increasingly important to the future, particularly if we are serious about eliminating the B.A. achievement gaps for students of color."

According to this study, the elements of state policy that make the biggest difference in transfer effectiveness are governance - specifically, the inclusion of two-year institutions with four-year colleges in state planning and course transfer policies-and accountability - setting clear goals and measuring performance in transfer effectiveness. The study includes recommendations about steps states can take to strengthen policies affecting baccalaureate transfer, including:

  • Establish clear goals for baccalaureate-transfer from two-year colleges, and track performance based on goals;
  • Hold both four and two-year colleges accountable for transfer performance;
  • Audit state accountability strategies and policies to make sure they support an effective transfer function;
  • Consider using tuition or grant aid to provide incentives for students to begin in a two-year college before completing a bachelor's degree at a four-year institution; and
  • Use all colleges and universities to improve transfer opportunities, including public and private institutions.
This study also includes an in-depth review of how six states (Arkansas, Florida, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Texas) used state policy to affect transfer performance. The criteria for selection of these states included the states' grades on Measuring Up 2000, the state-by-state report card for higher education.

Additional copies of this report are available from the National Center at www.highereducation.org or by faxing requests to (408) 271-2697.

The Institute for Higher Education Policy is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to foster access to and quality in postsecondary education. The Institute's activities are designed to promote innovative solutions to the important and complex issues facing higher education. These activities include research and policy analysis, policy formulation, program evaluation, strategic planning and implementation, and seminars and colloquia. Founded in 1993, the Institute informs the policymaking process in collaboration with U.S. state, federal, and institutional level partners, and internationally in countries such as South Africa, Mozambique, and Russia.

The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. It is not affiliated with any government agency, political party, or college or university. The National Center was established in 1998 with founding grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts and The Atlantic Philanthropies that have supported the initiation and continuation of its programs, including Measuring Up 2000: The State-by-State Report Card for Higher Education. The Ford Foundation has also provided core support to the National Center.

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