Community colleges now enroll one-third all undergraduates nationally, most of whom aspire to transfer to four-year baccalaureate-granting institutions. However, only 13 percent actually earn their bachelor’s degree in six years. Policymakers have understandably focused on making provisions for transfer between two- and four-year institutions in the public sector. Strengthening transfer pathways between public two-year colleges and private four-year liberal arts colleges remains an overlooked mechanism for enhancing access to the baccalaureate.
Curricular bridge-building between public two-year colleges and private four-year colleges provides transfer students with more options to complete their education in a timely fashion. Small independent colleges in particular are especially well-suited to serve transfer students by providing personal attention to help them reach their goals. At the same time, community college students bring important benefits to private colleges in the form of diversity of background and lived experience, enhancing the educational environment for all students.