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Executive Summary
The Importance of 2/4 Transfer
The Different Dimensions of Transfer
The Accountability Problem and Transfer “Rates”
Research on State Policy and Transfer
Six-State Focus
    New Mexico
    New York
    North Carolina
Lessons Learned about State Transfer Policy
Conclusions and Recommendations
State Resources
About the Author
The Institute for Higher Education Policy
The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education

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Page 12 of 21


New York is the most heavily “private” of the six sample states: private four-year colleges are the single largest sector in terms of enrollments (about 36% of total undergraduate enrollments) and numbers of institutions (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2000). Of the sample states, New York also has the smallest percentage of enrollments in public community colleges. The state’s pricing, subsidy, and financial aid policies reflect this strong private presence: public sector tuitions in New York, particularly in the community colleges, are among the highest in the country, with average tuition in the community colleges around $2,500 annually in 2000, compared with $3,850 for the four-year institutions. New York has one of the largest need-based state financial aid programs, the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which awards over $600 million annually. Only full-time students are eligible for TAP and eligibility is limited to eight enrolled semesters, restrictions that significantly limit TAP assistance to low-income community college students, who are more likely to be enrolled part-time and take longer to complete degrees. The much smaller state grant program targeted to community college students, Aid to Part-Time Study (APTS), limits its awards to tuition costs only and is only for students who are enrolled at least half-time (more than six units). The State University of New York (SUNY) has some tuition waivers for transfer students, and students at the City University of New York (CUNY) may also be eligible for an award from CCTWP (City College Tuition Waiver Program), designed for New York residents who attend one of CUNY’s six community colleges. New York also has the Bundy aid program, which provides funds to private colleges based on degrees awarded: $600 to two-year institutions for associate degrees, $1,500 for bachelor’s degrees to four-year institutions, $950 for master’s degrees, and $4,550 for doctoral degrees. The Bundy program is currently funded at approximately $45 million annually.


New York has 45 public four-year institutions, 35 public two-year community colleges, and 182 private institutions (119 independent four-year, 22 independent two-year, 9 proprietary four-year, and 32 proprietary two-year institutions). The governance structure is segmental, with most responsibility for planning, policy, data collection, and oversight residing in the two public governing boards—SUNY and CUNY—and statewide coordination by the New York State Board of Regents. All of the public community colleges have been governed as part of the CUNY or SUNY systems since the 1960s: SUNY has 32 four-year and 29 two-year institutions, and CUNY has 13 four-year and 6 two-year institutions. The SUNY and CUNY governing boards are responsible for statewide oversight for the community colleges within their respective jurisdictions. The Board of Regents performs a largely coordinating function, although it exercises degree review and approval authority and is the only state accrediting agency in the United States. The New York State Education Department is the administrative arm of the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents has no budget authority for higher education; budgets are negotiated individually between SUNY and CUNY with the governor’s office and the state legislature.

Enrollment Planning

Demand for postsecondary education in New York is projected to grow very slightly, at a statewide rate of approximately 1% a year. Most of the enrollment growth is in the metropolitan New York region and will be highest in the CUNY institutions; between 1990 and 2001, enrollment in New York City increased by 8%. Enrollments in the rest of the state declined by 2.6%, although three upstate regions had increases between 2.5% and 8%. Enrollment planning is decentralized within SUNY and CUNY. Campus-level plans within each of those systems show that most are expecting very modest growth in the next 10 years, with no sustained state or sector plan to increase enrollment access through growth in the community colleges. Nonetheless, the community colleges have been the fastest-growing sector in New York over the last decade.

Academic Policies Affecting Transfer

Responsibility for development and oversight of transfer policies affecting the two-year institutions resides with the SUNY and CUNY Boards; the Board of Education’s primary involvement is approval of degree programs and statewide data collection. SUNY has historically been the institution with the most selective admissions requirements of the four-year institutions. Admissions standards for many of the CUNY institutions had, during the 1970s, changed from selective to open access, but the four-year institutions are now moving back toward greater selectivity in response to the CUNY Board’s elimination of remedial education within baccalaureate programs in 2000. The Board of Regents has approved this change through 2002; at that time the Regents will consider extending CUNY’s authority to eliminate remedial courses in baccalaureate programs. The Board of Regents is closely monitoring the implementation of the new admissions requirements.

All the CUNY and SUNY community colleges, in contrast, remain open access institutions. Both systems require students who enter without ACT or SAT scores to take standardized tests to assess their preparedness for college-level coursework. Students failing to score high enough are directed to remedial courses, for which they receive college-enrollment credit but not degree credit.

Within both CUNY and SUNY, the community colleges have historically played a transfer role, and policies on articulation and acceptance of transfer credit within both institutions clearly state expectations for associate degree obtainment and transferability of credits. Within CUNY and SUNY there are separate core curriculum requirements for the associate degree. Articulation agreements must be individually negotiated between the campuses. There is no common course numbering system for either SUNY or CUNY. CUNY has in the last five years implemented a version of an electronic course catalogue for prospective transfer students, the Transfer Information and Program Planning System (TIPPS). Within both systems, policies on the transfer of credits require that community college students who complete the transfer core curriculum will have their units accepted for degree credit transfer at either a SUNY or CUNY campus, depending on where the community college is located. Students who are denied credits upon transfer have appeal rights to the SUNY and CUNY Boards. While students are not guaranteed enrollment at their first-choice campus or degree program, the relatively soft enrollment demand in many parts of the state has made four-year institutions eager to accept qualified transfer students.

There is also some evidence that the private four-year colleges play a major role in the baccalaureate transfer function in New York. Many of the private colleges maintain strong partnership programs with community colleges in their region, promising tuition assistance and other forms of aid for transfer students. The Bundy aid program, while not reimbursing the institutions for their costs of educating transfer students, nonetheless provides a positive incentive for them to pursue transfer students and encourage them to complete the baccalaureate degree.

Data Collection and Accountability

New York has no statewide “report card” or accountability report for higher education, although the Board of Regents requires reporting on some performance issues, such as graduation rates. Most of the data reporting on transfer, degree production, and other performance measures come from the SUNY and CUNY systems. The Board of Regents prepares an annual report on transfer activity for full-time students only; information about part-time transfer students must be obtained at the institutional level. The statewide transfer report was discontinued entirely between 1993 and 1999, so trend information for the 1990s must be obtained from the institutions. The statewide report shows data for sending and receiving institutions separately for CUNY and SUNY two- and four-year institutions, independent two- and four-year institutions, proprietary two- and four-year institutions, and out-of-state institutions. Data are shown separately for students who transferred from two-year institutions both with and without a degree. In 1999 out-of- state transfers constituted roughly a third of all transfer activity. Among in-state transfers, 58% went from two- to four-year institutions, and the majority of these 2/4 transfers did not obtain a two-year degree. Almost 35% of all 2/4 transfers moved to independent four- year institutions.


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