The University of Nebraska at Kearney and Central Community College have joined forces in a national initiative designed to boost college completion for underrepresented students.
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is leading an Equity Transfer Initiative (ETI) with a goal of increasing transfer rates for Black, Hispanic, adult and first-generation learners. Partnering with AACC in the endeavor are the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
The two-year ETI was awarded to partnerships between community and four-year colleges to advance transfer pathways and align them to increase completion rates for underrepresented student populations.
“CCC is thankful for partnerships like those with UNK to provide enhanced opportunities for all students to meet workforce challenges in central Nebraska,” said CCC President Matt Gotschall. “I am confident the expertise from our national associations will further allow us to develop best practices to help more students succeed in their educational goals.”
The goal of the ETI is to serve 6,000 students nationally from the identified underrepresented groups over the two-year project period. Each team will 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.
“As an institution with approximately 40% of our students being first-generation, UNK is at the forefront of the efforts in the region to provide higher education options to underrepresented groups,” said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen. “UNK stands ready to provide a supportive system that helps these students understand each step in their college career, as well as how their career goals can fit into high-paying, high-demand jobs in central Nebraska.”
Sixteen partnerships from 13 states representing 17 community colleges and 19 universities were selected to participate.
“Providing Nebraskans with the opportunity to earn their first 60 credits at Central Community College and second 60 credits at UNK will be a win-win for our community and employers,” said Candace Walton, vice president for innovation and instruction at CCC. “Our partnership is already working transfer opportunities in criminal justice and human services. Central Nebraskans will reap the benefits.”
The participating institutions will receive transfer coaching support to advance work plans that include:
- An assessment of the current relationship between two- 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 or new, innovative equity strategies that allow students to transfer without losing credits.
In February 2019, UNK and CCC signed a co-enrollment agreement that creates a structured pathway for first-time freshmen who want to attend UNK but initially fall short of admissions requirements.
Through the CCC-UNK Pathway program, students take most of their first-year classes at CCC, but they can live on the UNK campus and access the university’s academic services, student organizations and amenities. Students can fully enroll at UNK after successfully completing the one-year program.
UNK is also working with Grand Island-area businesses and high schools, CCC and community organizations to provide academic advising, undergraduate and graduate courses, certificate programs, workshops and seminars for transfers and underrepresented students through its College Park location in Grand Island.
“This initiative provides additional options for students to expand their educational opportunities and directly contribute to the workforce,” said Matt Bice, UNK associate dean of graduate studies. “The initiative is driven by the collaborative spirit of central Nebraskans, and UNK is committed to working with diverse stakeholders to develop future opportunities for our neighboring communities.”
For more information on the Equity Transfer Initiative, visit https://www.aacc.nche.edu/programs/equity-transfer-initiative.