For months, higher education officials from The University of Texas System and across the state have been developing an initiative that aims to get more community college students to transfer to universities.
Now, the fledgling effort has an official name – Transfer 101: From Community College to University.
The campaign, which supports a statewide goal to add more university graduates to Texas’ workforce, eventually will include a Web site that provides resources for facilitating the transfer process for prospective university students.
“We know that providing succinct, accurate and easily accessible information for academic planning is vital, and part of what this initiative aims to do is strengthen partnerships so that we increase transfer options for students,” said Martha Ellis, the UT System’s associate vice chancellor for community college partnerships. “We believe developing a strong identity for this initiative is an important first step toward helping students succeed.”
The effort is aimed at community college students because, statistically speaking, those who complete community college and transfer to universities tend to graduate from four-year institutions at a higher rate than those who begin their college educations at four-year institutions. The challenge, Ellis pointed out, is that fewer than 20 percent of qualified community college students elect to transfer to universities.
“Students explain that there is a lack of user-friendly, jargon-free, available information for themselves and their families. For this reason, a public awareness campaign is critical to ensure more students are informed about resources that could help them make a transition from a community college to a university,” Ellis said.
Plans call for each community college Web site in Texas to include the “Transfer 101” logo as a hotlink to the “Transfer 101” Web portal, which will launch in the academic year beginning in fall 2009. Other efforts seek to enhance relationships with the state’s 50 community college districts; develop transfer success action plans, and a public awareness campaign on options for baccalaureate degree completion.
The “Transfer 101” initiative is a collaborative partnership of the UT System, the Texas A&M University System and the Texas Association of Community Colleges, which is a nonprofit association that includes all 50 public community college districts in the state.
The University of Texas System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $11.5 billion (FY 2009) including $2.5 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Student enrollment exceeded 195,000 in the 2008 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state’s healthcare professionals annually. With more than 84,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.