About Tackling Transfer

For colleges and universities to fully foster socioeconomic mobility, promote racial equity and develop America’s talent, a strong community college transfer pipeline is critical, especially with more than 8.7 million students enrolled nationally in community colleges. We have seen transfer practices and policies improve across states and institutions. And yet one major challenge remains: few students who enter community college intending to get a bachelor’s degree ever do.

That is why HCM Strategists, Sova and The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program launched  Tackling Transfer in 2018. Together, we are working across the domains of policy, institutional practice and leadership to shift the conditions needed to dramatically improve equitable transfer student outcomes. Tackling Transfer takes this multi-pronged approach within three states–Minnesota, Texas and Virginia–and is amplifying lessons learned through national publications and field-facing tools.

Tackling Transfer is generously supported by four foundations: Ascendium Education Philanthropy, ECMC Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation.

National Policy Advisory Board

As the policy lead, HCM Strategists convenes the Tackling Transfer Policy Advisory Board, which will release strong and clear recommendations for transfer policy in summer 2021. The board leverages the expertise of a dozen nationally recognized transfer champions whose careers have spanned community college and university executive leadership, state government, and policy research and advocacy.

Board members include: Marty Alvarado of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office; Ron Anderson from Minnesota State Colleges and Universities; William R. Crowe from the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas, Austin; John Fink of the Community College Research Center at Columbia University Teachers College; Maria Hesse and Cheryl Hyman from Arizona State University; Shirleatha Lee from the University of South Carolina Upstate; Sharon Morrissey of the Virginia Community College System; Elena Quiroz-Livanis from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education; Jessie Ryan from the Campaign for College Opportunity; Shanna Smith-Jaggars from Ohio State University; and Chris Soto from the Connecticut State Department of Education. 

Policy Perspectives 

The Policy Advisory Board is driving the national discourse on transfer, helping to shift the narrative on transfer, elevate racial equity and respond to the needs of the moment. In addition to publications, board members spark dialogue through public speaking engagements targeting key audiences of state policymakers, higher education systems leaders, postsecondary funders, and more. 


As Higher Education Faces a “Corona Swirl” of Transfer Students, Higher Education Must Create Clear Pathways to Degrees

By John Fink, Maria Hesse, Cheryl Hyman, Shirleatha Lee, Sharon Morrissey, and Elena Quiroz-Livanis

Featured in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

Recent surveys show that a growing number of high school graduates and college students are opting to attend community colleges this fall because they are affordable and closer to home. Those who lost jobs in the post-COVID economy are also turning to community colleges to gain and sharpen skills that lead back to jobs. The combination is creating an unprecedented level of student movement between two- and four-year colleges. There’s even a name for it in higher education circles – the “corona swirl.”

Read more: https://diverseeducation.com/article/185085/


It’s time to fix the broken higher education transfer pipeline

By William Crowe, Shanna Smith-Jaggars and Chris Soto

Featured in The Hill

The United States has been rocked by demands to address the many racial disparities in our society, driven most recently by data that make it clear that Native, Black and Latinx Americans are disproportionately contracting the coronavirus — and are the hardest hit in the current job market. For example, less than half of adult Black Americans currently have a job — and those who do make far less than their white colleagues. 

Read more: https://thehill.com/opinion/education/510213-its-time-to-fix-the-broken-higher-education-transfer-pipeline


Millions of students in America’s community colleges want to eventually earn a bachelor’s degree, but just a fraction successfully transfer to and graduate from four-year institutions

By Maria Hesse, Cheryl Hyman, Sharon Morrissey and Elena Quiroz-Livanis

Featured in Route-Fifty

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, our economy has left too many hard-working Americans behind, particularly Black and Latino Americans without a college degree. These disparities have only grown in the wake of the pandemic.

Read more: https://www.route-fifty.com/management/2020/10/states-fixing-community-college-transfer-pipeline/169053/

Get Engaged

How can state and federal policy set the conditions for more equitable transfer? Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #TacklingTransfer or tag us at @HCMStrat

Connect with Our Experts

Lara Couturier, Juana Sanchez, Danielle Zaragoza

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