More than two years into the pandemic, community colleges and four-year institutions across the country face an imperative to ensure students from communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic can access, persist through and realize their higher education aspirations. This year, Wor-Wic Community College and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) embraced the challenge by coming together to accelerate transfer reform as a part of the Transfer Student Success Intensive. The Wor-Wic team will join the first-ever cohorts of the intensive, comprised of 29 other two- and four-year partnerships from across the country, and led by the Aspen Institute and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).
The intensive, funded with the support of Ascendium Education Philanthropy, will span the next year, through February of 2023. Teams will receive one-on-one consulting with experts and work to identify, collect, understand and use critical transfer outcomes and equity data. As part of this community of practice, teams will attend monthly sessions focused on co-creating practices and policies to improve transfer student success and equity.
“We have always worked with students to prepare and encourage them to continue their education,” said Dr. Ray Hoy, president of Wor-Wic. “We hope this intensive will help us ease the path for students who want to take part in the many outstanding academic programs offered at UMES.”
“I am excited to work with Dr. Hoy and Wor-Wic to create this strategic transfer plan between our two institutions to benefit the students in the tri-county area. Given that a large percentage of Somerset County high school students enroll at Wor-Wic, we will be able to create this pipeline for those who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree at UMES. This partnership will result in tuition savings for students and will help students complete their degrees faster,” said Dr. Heidi M. Anderson, president of UMES.
Wor-Wic and UMES will join 67 of their peers in this effort, selected from an applicant pool of 97 institutions and three systems from 25 states. Together, these cohorts account for a total enrollment of nearly a million undergraduate students, offering the promise of significant impact.
For Wor-Wic, participation in the intensive represents an important extension of efforts to increase community college transfer and bachelor’s degree attainment. Established programs to help students succeed include a pathway for Wor-Wic students taking chemistry in the pre-pharmacy concentration to qualify for admissions to the UMES graduate program in the School of Pharmacy, known as a “2+3 program,” as well as transfer agreements for general studies, biology, chemistry and engineering. A scholarship program for all students who transfer from Wor-Wic to UMES provides $3,500 annually toward their tuition; three top students per year are chosen for a full-ride financial aid package.
Visit https://highered.aspeninstitute.org/transfer-intensive/ for details about the initiative and a full list of institutions selected for the first two cohorts.