State Councils Update: Community College Transfer Process Streamlined; Grants Awarded; Scholarship Amounts Increase


With the help of CIC grants, State Councils in Texas and North Carolina have developed two models of online transfer portals that will streamline the transfer process for community college students who seek to complete degrees at independent colleges and universities. Once they are complete and fully tested by current students, the two models will provide technology that can be adapted by states that have articulation agreements with community colleges as well as by those that do not.

  • Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas Foundation (ICUTF) includes 38 private institutions that represent about 20 percent of the total student enrollment in colleges and universities in Texas, but there is no statewide articulation agreement for community college transfer in the lone star state. ICUTF’s new initiative, which received support through a $40,000 CIC National Venture Fund grant, promises to increase overall enrollment at private institutions by allowing advisors at community colleges to view, online, entire programs, courses, and costs at participating ICUTF institutions; select a student who has earned (or will earn within the term) an associate’s degree; and request a transfer on behalf of the student. The portal will make it easier to match students to institutions where they can apply their community college credits toward a bachelor’s degree. It serves students by identifying colleges that can provide a smooth transition, and it serves institutions by creating a pathway that will allow pre-qualified students to be accepted and to transfer seamlessly. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, community college students who transfer to a nonprofit institution of higher education have a 60 percent graduation rate, a statistic that ICUTF seeks to increase over time by eliminating some of the obstacles for community college transfer.
  • North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) is developing a different model that leverages North Carolina’s statewide Independent Comprehensive Articulation Agreement of 2015. For NCICU’s 36 member colleges and universities and their partners in the North Carolina Community Colleges System, the transfer portal will instantly reveal direct pathways to degree completion for community college students by providing information on course equivalencies between institutions, thanks to the statewide articulation agreement. NCICU’s portal will build on the work of ICUTF and soon help students chart a clear path toward a bachelor’s degree. The NCICU project received financial backing through a $25,000 CIC National Venture Fund Grant that NCICU will match through state-based support.

Both the ICUTF and NCICU models include communications tools that will give students and institutions progress updates and reminders, important tactics for increasing enrollment in private colleges and universities through the new portals. ICUTF and NCICU will give presentations on their projects at the 2018 State Councils Annual Conference, which will take place in St. Louis, Missouri, April 29–May 1.


Thanks to prudent management by the CIC Board of Directors Investment Committee, the annual drawdown that supports scholarship and grant programs for CIC State Councils will provide for an increase in the CIC/UPS Scholarships Program for the 2018–2019 academic year. In July, CIC will award a $3,000 stipend for use at each eligible State Council member institution—which includes private, nonprofit, and regionally accredited four-year institutions that offer undergraduate liberal arts degree programs to the students they serve.

“Since its inception, the program has provided scholarships to more than 20,170 students,” said Carol Schuler, vice president for state council programs. “It helps first-generation, low-income, minority, and new American students afford to enroll in private colleges, where research shows that they more readily thrive and graduate in a shorter period of time.”

CIC distributes the scholarships through CIC State Councils and member institutions. Last year, 551 students were selected by their institutions for the award. For more information about the CIC/UPS Scholarships, contact Schuler at or (202) 466-7230.

Hope Williams holds a trophy standing with the winning Ethics Bowl team
Teams from 24 colleges participated in the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities’ (NCICU) 2018 Ethics Bowl, which focused on “Ethics and the Future of Community” and was held at the North Carolina Legislative complex in Raleigh, February 16–17. Pictured, NCICU President Hope Williams gathered with the Salem College (NC) team members, winners of this year’s competition.


Four State Councils received cash awards in March through CIC’s Capacity-Building Grants Program. Designed to help a small staff do more, the grants provide funds for materials, consultants, software, and research that fundraisers and marketers need. No matching funds are required to qualify. All applications are evaluated by a committee based on the impact the award will have. The State Councils that submitted successful applications received a total of $66,725 from CIC and will engage in several projects:

  • Michigan Colleges Alliance will develop a new website;
  • Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges will produce a marketing and fundraising video;
  • Associated Colleges of Illinois will establish a major gifts program for families and individuals; and
  • Council of Independent Nebraska Colleges Foundation will produce an economic impact report.

“CIC is very pleased by the range of topics this year in the Capacity-Building Grant Program,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “These grants are designed to address pressing issues and make an immediate difference in the operational capacity of a State Council. It’s a very smart move to apply for these grants, which have a fairly simple application process.”

The Capacity-Building Grant Program is one of five annual funding initiatives CIC offers to State Councils. View additional information about the initiatives—including deadlines and online applications.