Texas Looking To Boost Community College Transfers

By CityTownInfo.com Staff

May 26, 2009

School officials in Texas are hoping to increase the number of residents with bachelor's degrees by making it easier for students to transfer from community colleges to four-year institutions.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram [from an article originally located at http://www.star-telegram.com/state_news/story/1391961.html] reports that last week, about 1,000 college and university representatives attended meetings across the state to discuss improving transfer rates. The summit, which was called the Transfer Success Conference, was co-hosted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the University of Texas system.

In order to raise education levels to better support a growing state economy, Texas higher education leaders aim to award 112,500 bachelor's degrees in Texas by 2015--up from 93,032 in 2007. Mark Cutright, director of the Center for Higher Education at the University of North Texas, noted in Inside Higher Ed that reaching that goal would depend greatly on successfully transferring community college students to four-year schools. Currently in Texas, only 20 percent of community college students transfer to a university.

Several institutions were recognized for their innovative programs for facilitating successful transfers. Included among them was the University of Houston at Clear Lake's Automatic Transfer Student Scholarship, which awards $800-$1000 to transfer students in order to help them better afford a university education. So far this year, Clear Lake has awarded 676 scholarships.

In addition, the University of Texas at El Paso was recognized for "best practices in curricular education" as a result of their successful collaboration with El Paso Community College. Peter Golding, associate dean of undergraduate studies and engineering education research at UTEP, noted that the cooperation between the two schools allows students to receive college credit in engineering with far less difficulty.

"Ten or fifteen years ago, students who went to community colleges were viewed as second-class citizens," said Golding, who was quoted in Inside Higher Ed. "You have to destroy the myth that there is a difference between these students and our students."

The Star-Telegram describes another noteworthy program: The University of Texas at Dallas's very successful Comet Connection Program, which aims to encourage transfers between community colleges and four-year schools. The program allows community college students to create a connection with UT-Dallas, and provides them with the ability to lock in university tuition for four years.

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