These 2-Year and 4-Year College Partnerships Keep Students From Falling Through the Cracks

"Four out of five students who come to Northern Virginia Community College are seeking degrees it doesn’t offer. That’s where its partner, George Mason University, steps in," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. 

"The partnership makes it possible for students wanting a bachelor’s degree to save money by starting out at the community college, commonly called NOVA. The pairing was highlighted on Monday as one of the nation’s most successful transfer partnerships at the annual convention here of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Such role models are in great demand at a time when so many transfer students — and the credits they’ve earned — are falling through the cracks.

More than a third of college students transfer at least once, but 43 percent of the credits they earn are lost in the process, according to a report issued last year by the federal Government Accountability Office.

When credits are lost, students often take on more debt and spend more time retaking courses. They may use up the federal loans they’re eligible for or just get discouraged and drop out.

That’s one reason that while 80 percent of students attending community colleges say they’d like a bachelor’s degree, only 14 percent have one six years later, according to Josh Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program.

When students take far more credits than they need to graduate, 'that is inefficient not just for students, but for taxpayers,' Wyner said.

Lawmakers who are already skeptical about the value of a college degree could use that against the institutions come budget time and reward those that make the process smoother for students, he said. 

The NOVA-George Mason partnership offers a single point of entry for admissions, advising, and financial aid. Students starting out at NOVA are assigned success coaches who stick with them through graduation. Students declare a major from the start so all of their courses will count, and they won’t waste time and money taking a lot of classes they don’t need to graduate."

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Publication Date: 5/2/2018

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