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.
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
Contact us for more information.
Monica Clark, Senior Program Manager