CIC/NCICU Community College Transfer Project to Serve as Model for Other States

A new CIC-sponsored pilot program in partnership with North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) will create pathways that encourage community college students to pursue bachelor degrees in liberal arts disciplines at independent colleges. The Teagle Foundation recently awarded CIC a $400,000 grant for the three-year project to determine best practices for community college to private college pathways that will be instructive for other states.

In announcing the grant, CIC President Richard Ekman emphasized, “We know that community college students can enhance their prospects for successful and timely completion of bachelor’s degrees at private colleges, and we know that CIC colleges and universities can benefit tremendously by increasing the number of well-prepared community college transfer students. The Teagle Foundation’s generous grant will have a powerful effect in North Carolina and beyond.” He added, “The Independent Pathways: Community College Transfer in the Liberal Arts project stems from a long-standing commitment at CIC to facilitating transfer from community colleges to private nonprofit colleges and universities.”

The state of North Carolina has already developed a comprehensive articulation agreement that allows community college students to transfer as juniors with their general education requirements fulfilled to any of 30 NCICU institutions. In addition, NCICU recently completed pathways in nursing, fine arts, theater, and music. The grant will assist NCICU in developing two additional pathways in liberal arts disciplines. Pathways in psychology, and in some cases sociology, will be mapped out by 14 NCICU institutions paired with 14 two-year colleges (13 community colleges and one private two-year college). All the private colleges are CIC members. The colleges (see lists below) will work together to create a “culture of transfer” that ensures students receive the fullest possible information and are carefully advised from enrollment at a two-year college until graduation with a bachelor’s degree. Through two workshops and a peer-to-peer visitation program, faculty and staff members at the participating institutions will collaborate with their counterparts to establish trust, design clear and workable articulation agreements, and build effective communication and advising mechanisms.

Multiple barriers can hinder community college students from completing the transfer to a four-year institution and attaining a bachelor’s degree. Such barriers include inadequate advising and a lack of clearly articulated transfer pathways from community colleges to baccalaureate institutions. The lack of advising is particularly problematic, as the complexity of the transfer process can easily deter students who do not receive guidance at all critical points in the process. According to Ekman, “The loss of credits during the transfer process can have severe consequences for students. Not only does taking extra classes cost more and add to student debt, but it also can increase students’ time-to-degree or even lower their chances of graduating at all.”

To lower these barriers, the CIC and NCICU initiative will provide greater clarity in the transfer process and design discipline-specific guided pathways that provide lists of courses students can follow to transfer as junior psychology or sociology majors, alleviate credit loss, and reduce the confusion and anxiety surrounding many transfer decisions.

A. Hope Williams, president of NCICU, said, “We greatly value this partnership with CIC and are deeply appreciative of the Teagle Foundation’s investment in expanding and streamlining transfer opportunities for students from North Carolina’s two-year colleges to some of our four-year private colleges and universities. The advising and financial aid components of the grant will provide critical supplemental support to help these students be successful in completing their baccalaureate degrees.”

Independent Pathways: Community College Transfer in the Liberal Arts

The CIC/North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) pilot program will pair 14 NCICU institutions with 14 two-year colleges.

CIC/NCICU Participating Institutions

Barton College
Brevard College
Campbell University
Catawba College
Chowan University
Guilford College
Johnson C. Smith University
Mars Hill University
Meredith College
Pfeiffer University
Salem College
Shaw University
William Peace University
Wingate University

Louisburg College (Two-Year)

Community College Partners

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
Blue Ridge Community College
Central Carolina Community College
Central Piedmont Community College
Durham Technical Community College
Forsyth Technical Community College
Guilford Technical Community College
Roanoke-Chowan Community College
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
South Piedmont Community College
Stanly Community College
Wake Technical Community College
Wilson Community College