Fort Lewis College and San Juan College have partnered to innovate and improve pathways for regional transfer students seeking four-year degrees. To bolster these efforts, the American Association of Community Colleges awarded the partnership a two-year Equity Transfer Initiative grant. The ETI is a national program that aims to increase transfer rates for African American, Hispanic, adult, and first-generation learners.
"We are thrilled to have been selected to participate in this national Equity Transfer Initiative, allowing us to partner with San Juan College to create innovative new pathways into a four-year degree at Fort Lewis College," says Provost Cheryl Nixon. "SJC and FLC share so many meaningful values: increasing access to higher education, ensuring that students from diverse backgrounds achieve success, and empowering students to define new career and life possibilities. We predict great success with this new ETI grant and, more importantly, great success for our SJC and FLC students."
Sixteen partnerships from 13 states representing 17 community colleges and 19 universities were selected to participate in the ETI. The goal of the ETI is to serve 6,000 students from the identified underrepresented groups over the two-year project period. Each team must place at least 100 students on one of five identified transfer pathways by the end of the first year and 300 or more total by the end of the second year.
"Many students come to San Juan College with the goal of transferring to a four-year institution," says Adrienne Forgette, SJC Vice President for Learning. "Fort Lewis has always been an excellent partner for transfer students. With this initiative, we will strengthen that partnership and see more students achieve their dream of a four-year college degree—or more."
The American Association of Community Colleges will lead the ETI in partnership with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Funded by ECMC Foundation and Ascendium Education Group, the two-year ETI will award up to $27,500 to partnerships between community and four-year colleges to advance transfer pathways and increase transfer and completion for underrepresented student populations.
"We are at a critical juncture in education where the imperative to close equity and achievement gaps has never been more urgent."
“We are at a critical juncture in education where the imperative to close equity and achievement gaps has never been more urgent,” said Saúl Valdez, program officer at ECMC Foundation. “We are motivated by American Association of Community Colleges’ selection of teams to the Equity Transfer Initiative, a pillar of the Catalyzing Transfer Initiative to address the challenges that marginalized students especially face in successful transfer to a four-year institution.”
Participants will receive transfer coaching support to advance work plans that include:
- An assessment of the current and/or newly proposed relationship between two-year and four-year institutions to identify obstacles and develop response strategies that lead to a strong transfer relationship.
- A review of current and/or new transfer pathways through an equity lens, specifically identifying evidence-based equity strategies or new innovative equity strategies that allow students to matriculate without losing credit and time to degree.
Partnerships/consortia will also have access to technical assistance provided by subject matter experts, participate in convenings to teach and learn from each other, and inform the development of train-the-trainer tools that colleges interested in strengthening their transfer pathways can use. Additionally, participants will focus on strengthening student support services and ensuring that culturally competent counseling, among other interventions, are considered as viable ways to serve these students.
Learn about the San Juan Reciprocal Scholarship