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Private Higher Education
September 10, 2022

Independent four-year colleges can learn effective approaches to make it easier for community college students to transfer to their institutions with the help of a new playbook released by Ithaka S+R.

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and the Teagle Foundation provided funding for the development of the resource titled Playbook for Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts: How to Design and Implement Statewide Pathways from Community Colleges to Independent Colleges.

The playbook addresses common obstacles community college students face when transferring to independent institutions. Current policy efforts to improve transfer pathways focus on transferring to public institutions despite the fact that independent colleges enroll 20% of community college transfer students.

The transfer pathways playbook was developed based by examining the transfer promoting work of 70 institutions surveyed in six states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island. The schools surveyed noted significant positive results after launching transfer pathway initiatives including an increase in enrollment of transfer students.

Independent higher education institutions can take several steps to improve transfer pathways to their school including establishing common prerequisites for majors and making it easier for students to access information about financial aid.

Improving transfer pathways to independent colleges will result in more students benefitting from a liberal arts education. Colleges that incorporate liberal arts classes teach students valuable leadership skills such as critical thinking and civic responsibility. Independent colleges also tend to have higher graduation rates and shorter degree completion times than four-year public institutions.

The playbook guides independent colleges on how to design and execute successful transfer pathway strategies which will make it easier for community college students to earn a bachelor’s degree. For more information about the playbook, click here.

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