Tackling Transfer

Ensuring community college students go on to attain their four-year degrees.

Download our latest publication "Tackling Transfer: A Guide to Convening Community Colleges and Universities to Improve Transfer Student Outcomes" 

Preparing students for transfer to bachelor’s degree programs remains a key component of community colleges’ core mission. Yet, today, the transfer process does not work well for most students; fewer than one in five entering community college students attains a bachelor’s degree.
1.7 million
Number of new students enrolled in community college each year
80%
Percent of students who plan to get a bachelor's degree or higher
33%
Percent of students who started community college in fall 2007 that transferred to a four-year school
14%
Of the students who started community college in fall 2007, Percent of students who went on to earn a bachelor's degree
within 6 years
In partnership with the Community College Research Center (CCRC), Public Agenda, and SOVA, Aspen is engaged in a multi-year project designed to improve bachelor’s attainment outcomes for students who enter community college and aim to transfer to a four-year institution. Supported by the Carnegie Corporation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Transfer Project is addressing the issue of transfer through: 
Transfer Outcomes Research
With CCRC and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSC), Aspen co-published research on the transfer and bachelor’s attainment outcomes of students who began at community college. The report, Tracking Transfer: New Measures of Institutional and State Effectiveness in Helping Community College Students Attain Bachelor’s Degrees, offers a state-by-state look at transfer outcomes and proffers a comprehensive set of metrics against which states, as well as two- and four-year institutions, can assess their performance.
Transfer Playbook and Assessment Tools
Based on original research into the practices of six highly effective community college-university partnerships, The Transfer Playbook, published by Aspen and CCRC in 2016, describes and synthesizes ways that institutions can improve transfer student outcomes through three core strategies: prioritizing transfer, creating clear transfer program maps, and establishing dedicated transfer advising. The report provides concrete examples of essential strategies as well as a checklist of “How to Get Started.”

To complement the Playbook, the partners also designed open-access tools for assessing practice at two- and four-year institutions. These tools, in addition to other materials accompanying the newly released Tackling Transfer Guide, are available as a full suite of resources available for use in the planning, design, and execution of a state transfer workshop.
Replicating Effective Transfer Practice
With CCRC, Public Agenda, and SOVA, Aspen designed and delivered a series of workshops in three states - North Carolina, Ohio, and Washington - to support the widespread adoption of high-impact strategies for improving bachelor's degree completion among students who start in community colleges. Additionally, in partnership with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the John N Gardner Institute, and Achieving the Dream (ATD), our organizations helped design transfer workshops for two- and four-year institutional practitioners within the AASCU and ATD networks.

Informed by this on-the-ground work, the newly released Tackling Transfer Guide is designed as a resource to help state entities organize workshops within which teams from two- and four-year institutions work together to improve transfer and graduation outcomes for their students. Through data analysis and self-reflection of institutional practices, these workshops help institutions develop action plans (individually and among partners) to improve transfer student success.

Accompanying the guide is a series of related materials including sample agendas, action plans and assessment tools for use in the planning, design, and execution of a state transfer workshop.
Texas Transfer Alliance Institutional Practice Framework and Tools
North Texas Transfer Alliance Institutional Practice Framework and Tools
The Aspen Institute recognizes the generous support for the Tackling Transfer project from: 

Related Posts

Tackling Transfer: A Guide to Convening Community Colleges and Universities to Improve Transfer Student Outcomes
Tackling Transfer Guide Accompanying Materials
Transfer Playbook: Essential Practices for Two- and Four-Year Colleges
Tracking Transfer: New Measures of Institutional and State Effectiveness in Helping Community College Students Attain Bachelor’s Degrees
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