Partnerships selected for Equity Transfer Initiative

By Martha Parham

ETI aims to clear transfer pathways for underrepresented students.

Sixteen partnerships from 13 states representing 17 community colleges and 19 universities will participate in the Equity Transfer Initiative (ETI), which aims to increase transfer rates for African-American, Hispanic, adult and first-generation learners.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) will lead the initiative in partnership with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). The ECMC Foundation and Ascendium Education Group are funding the two-year ETI, through which selected partnering two-year and four-year institutions will receive up to $27,500 to advance transfer pathways and align them to increase transfer and completion for underrepresented student populations.

View the list of the 16 partnerships participating in ETI.

The goal of 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.

“I am delighted to see this project finally come to fruition,” AACC President and CEO Walter G. Bumphus said in a press release. “As a part of AACC’s Unfinished Business initiative, it is vitally important for community colleges to close the equity and achievement gaps. The Equity Transfer Initiative is designed to focus on new and evidence-based equity strategies that will ensure the successful completion of degrees that lead to family-sustaining wages.”

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.

“As an African-American and first-generation college student, equity in transfer is personal for me,” said Angel M. Royal, AACC’s chief of staff. “It is not lost on me that I could have easily been a part of statistics that show the increasing equity gaps in transfer rates for underrepresented students. In order to address these barriers to success, we must face it head on and implement strategies like the ETI that allow colleges to reframe their transfer strategies and truly move the needle in the right direction.”

“We are looking forward to working together with AASCU and APLU to begin this work,” Royal continued. “Together we recognize the longstanding need for improved transfer pathways and opportunities for students, especially those that help underrepresented students persist and obtain high-demand jobs.”

This article originally appeared in CC Daily.

Martha Parham

is senior vice president of public relations at the American Association of Community Colleges.