National Groups Join Forces to Improve College Access

National Groups Join Forces to Improve College Access

WASHINGTON

Two national associations representing the majority of U.S. public colleges and close to 10 million students are now partnering to help more students continue their education and earn a bachelor’s degree.

While a college degree is widely deemed essential to career and financial success in today’s high-skill society, major barriers exist that block many students from attending or continuing in college, association leaders say.

Working together and with their more than 1,500 member colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) will identify nonfinancial barriers to state, system and institutional levels; pinpoint ways to eliminate them; and work with institutions and policy-makers to urge new solutions.

“We know some of the problems that exist,” says AACC president George R. Boggs. “Many two-year and four-year colleges are already working together to establish articulation agreements and other strategies that will allow students to transfer more easily. But to date there has been no concerted national collaboration between the two largest sectors of public higher education.”

Norfolk State University and Tidewater Community College (TCC) in Virginia are two of the most recent institutions to ease the transition between two- and four-year schools. The schools’ presidents signed an articulation agreement last month that guarantees admission to Norfolk State for TCC students who have completed all course requirements and received an associate’s degree with a cumulative 2.0 grade point average. The students will be admitted to Norfolk State as upper-division students provided they received grades of C or better in their course requirements. The agreement is the result of efforts made in the last eight months to address transfer issues between TCC students and Norfolk State.

AACC and AASCU’s 18-month “Access to the Baccalaureate” project is underwritten by a $305,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation.



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