Coordination between two- and four-year institutions is critical to ensure that students who complete an associate degree move through a pipeline to transfer and succeed at the next level of their education, according to Sandra Kurtinitis, president of the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) and board chair-elect of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
In fact, Kurtinitis noted, students who transfer from a community college do as well as or better than students who start at a four-year college.
Community colleges already work with four-year institutions to ensure their programs are aligned and that students don’t lose course credits when they transfer, said AACC Chief of Staff Angel Royal.
Kurtinitis and Royal were panelists Monday at a session broadcast live at the annual conference of the Society for College and University Planning in Washington, D.C.
Serving students’ needs
Accessibility is important, as well as affordability, Kurtinitis said. At CCBC, the average age of students is 27, and most have jobs and children.
“We’re very accessible to a community that depends on a quality education near their homes,” she said.
Community colleges have become more focused on helping students succeed, Royal said.
“That’s the hallmark of community colleges,” she said.
Royal added that it’s important for college leaders to know what students need and to respond to that, whether it’s childcare or scheduling classes at 10 p.m.
“We have to be in the community and of the community,” said Salvador Aceves, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Regis University in Colorado. Regis encourages students to develop a commitment to the community.
“We’re very much committed to a collaborative environment,” Aceves said.