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Fixing the Transfer Pathway from Community Colleges is an Equity Imperative

By partnering with community colleges, Montclair State University is focused on breaking down barriers that prevent students from completing a four-year degree.

Posted in: Homepage News, President

President Koppell speaking at Bergen Community College

By Jonathan Koppell, President of Montclair State University 

The transfer pathway from community colleges to four-year institutions needs fixing.

Research from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College reported in 2021 that while four out of five students who start at a two-year college hope to complete a four-year degree, fewer than one in five do so because of confusion, red tape, and other unexpected setbacks.

This is a major problem, and represents a huge equity issue in higher education. Consider that Black and Hispanic students at community colleges are half as likely as white students to transfer to a four-year college according to the same research.

I believe it is our responsibility as university leaders to make the transfer process as seamless as possible, removing the frustrating, unnecessary obstacles that can deter bright, promising students from the opportunities that a four-year degree will provide them.

That’s why I’m so proud of the agreement that Montclair State University and Bergen Community College signed this week, guaranteeing admission at Montclair for students who have earned an associate’s degree and offering advisors, events, and programs to guide them throughout the process. We share a commitment to fostering the success of students of all backgrounds, and are equally committed to reducing the barriers that prevent that from happening. Read this article about our joint academic agreement to learn more.

I hope this is the first of many Montclair-Bergen Days – and a model for the growth of the many fantastic partnerships we enjoy with community colleges in New Jersey. Together we can alter the trajectory of individual learners, their families, communities and our state.

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