Navigating the path from a community college to a reputed private university

Private four-year colleges are increasingly looking at community college transfer pipelines to expand access and diversify students. President Carol L. For Fault, it’s personal. As a community college transfer student, she discovered a lifelong passion for biology, then took top leadership positions and presidency on three campuses: Dartmouth College; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; And now the University of Southern California.

For the second of two interviews focused on increasing community college transfers to private four-year institutions, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program asked President Fault about how to build his transition path, promote and ensure ownership on campus. The success of these students. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Aspen Institute: Tell us about your own community college transfer story. What inspired you to move to the University of California, Santa Barbara?

Although I dropped out of Ohio State University before I finished my bachelor’s degree, I wanted to pursue a four-year education. My family didn’t have the money to support that dream, so I had to work through school. I decided to move to California, where I knew I could work full time while getting a great education.

I thought I’d enroll in a community college in Santa Barbara and start a waitress at a restaurant in Pierre. I was lucky; I found my way from Community College to UC Santa Barbara, earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees without any credit, and discovered my love of the environment along the way. Thinking about how I stumbled this way, I was surprised that I was able to move. This is why I emphasize ensuring that students have access to the USC and what they need in the first few semesters to adjust. If no one encourages community college students to consider a four-year college যদি if no one paves the way for them আমরা we lose an incredibly talented team of students from different backgrounds.

Aspen Institute: How did the story of your transfer inform the university presidency about your vision?

As a college president, you draw All Your experience. For me, this includes dropping out of college and moving across the country, working while studying in a community college, and building a career in government and non-government organizations. As a Community College Transfer Student I find my experience to be the most constructive because I have done it on my own.

When I shared this at a recent meeting of the presidents of the American Association of Universities (AAU), many were surprised to hear the story of my transfer. Just as surprisingly, several presidents came later and shared their own transfer rides. In the leadership of colleges across the country, migrant students represent better than we thought.

By emphasizing the many contributions these students have made to our campus, it is up to us as four-year college and university leaders. We need to raise awareness of the barriers to paving the way for reform that will help students follow a simple transfer process, save money, reduce debt and create rights.

Aspen Institute: What message do you share with co-presidents and senior leaders as you set the tone for community college transfers?

We need Treat community college transfers like a merit program. Transfer students not only represent some of our highest achieving students, they also carry an incredible suite of experience. When presidents see community colleges as a meritocracy, our perspective changes. We begin to see community colleges in ways that can help us expand and diversify our student body. At USC, this framing has led us to explore exciting new initiatives, such as the Promise Programs program, which provides a guaranteed path to pipelines for the transfer and relocation of students interested in high-demand technology.

Sadly, very few community college students realize their potential on a prestigious campus. According to a Recent reports By the Jack Kent Cook Foundation, only 5 percent of undergraduates start community college in the most competitive four-year school. At USC, we are proud that transfer students make up about 13 percent of our graduate population. Repeatedly, they show us that they excel in the classroom, improve student leadership positions, and are passionate about what they do. Our campus communities benefit from the many backgrounds and perspectives they bring.

Aspen Institute: How can four-year, non-governmental organizations expand the pipeline for community college transfer students?

I’ll start Elevating fast transfers as an alternative. At USC, we work with that California Advisory Corps To spread the message in high schools across the state: Students don’t have to start at USC to get a four-year degree from USC. We acknowledge that they want to launch a community college while navigating financial, professional, or personal situations — then transfer to us. We emphasize that they can earn a bachelor’s degree as well as their first-year, full-time peers. And we’re working hard to update the Articulation Agreement with community colleges across California so that these students can see a clear path to graduation.

Also, a four year institution is required Transfer students share responsibility for success With colleagues from their community college. This means that four-year colleges should be visible as soon as possible, giving community college students the opportunity to explore campus life, connect with faculty, and experience them.