How the Transfer Path Can Help With Your Startup Success

By Brian Wallace Brian Wallace has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on May 7, 2023

Kentucky aims to have 60% of its population to get a postsecondary credential or degree by 2030 through successful transfer paths. In fact, for every 500 Kentucky students who enroll in a transfer pathway, 115 of them will transfer within three years while 63 of them will complete a bachelor’s degree within four years of transferring from a community college. But why should students transfer? 

The cost of college can be greatly reduced when students attend community college for an associate degree and then transfer to a university when obtaining their bachelor’s degree. In Kentucky, the average annual net price of public university is $13,000 while private university costs $18,000. A little more than 80% of transfer students choose to go to public universities while about 20% choose to attend private universities. 

Transfer Overcoming the Wealth Gap

Students who are able to complete a bachelor’s degree after receiving an associate degree have higher incomes than those who didn’t. In Kentucky specifically, graduates who have an associate degree made $37,000 while those with a bachelor’s degree made $63,000 10 years after getting their degree. The lifetime earnings premium of a bachelor’s over an associate degree is $541,000 nationally and almost $600,000 in Kentucky. 

Unfortunately, very few transfer-aspiring students reach their goal of getting a bachelor’s degree. Between 2020 and 2021, nearly 30,000 students were on a transfer pathway pursuing an Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degree in a Kentucky Community and Technical College. However, by 2026 and 2027, 23,100 students will not have transferred yet, which is 77% of students who will change majors, complete a short-term credential, continue enrollment on the transfer path, or complete an associate degree but not transfer. This means only 6,900 students (or 23%) will transfer to a university with at least 3,800 completing a bachelor’s degree and 3,100 not completing it yet. 

While the 2 + 2 formula is a common education strategy (meaning two years at a community college and two years in a bachelor’s program), only 8% of transfer students complete in this manner nationally. Several students of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) are able to receive a bachelor’s degree after transferring, however, they face many obstacles when they do. Yet transfers from KCTCS to universities increased by 2% between 2020 and 2021, which is 90 students more compared to the previous year. 

How to Connect to the Transfer Path

There are solutions to help connect the transfer path. About one in three undergraduate students change their major at least once so it’s important for institutions to work together to map major requirements and career pathways from community college to every bachelor’s program. Transfer students are highly likely to interact with university faculty or participate in co-curricular activities like study abroad or undergraduate research so proactive advising with regular checkups can overcome strong informational barriers and increase on-time graduation rates by as much as 21%. Transfer credit can also pose an issue, but Kentucky’s General Education Transfer Policy allows students to fulfill all general education requirements at KCTCS before transferring to a public university. 

One of the biggest barriers to successful transfer success involves the inherent equity issue. Across the U.S., white students are twice as likely to transfer as Black and Hispanic students. Students from families with higher incomes are twice as likely to transfer as students from families with lower incomes as well. Nonetheless, early momentum milestones are improving transfer success for all students with major benefits for Black and Hispanic students, such as the greater impact of completing college-level math and English in the first year for Black and Hispanic students more likely to transfer and complete a bachelor’s degree compared to white students. 

In Conclusion

Kentucky understands that connecting the path from community colleges to universities is vital to transfer student success as is actively making this happen. 

Transfer success
Source: Kentucky Student Success Collaborative

By Brian Wallace Brian Wallace has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Brian Wallace is a Columnist at Grit Daily. He is an entrepreneur, writer, and podcast host. He is the Founder and President of NowSourcing and has been featured in Forbes, TIME, and The New York Times. Brian previously wrote for Mashable and currently writes for Hacker Noon, CMSWire, Business 2 Community, and more. His Next Action podcast features entrepreneurs trying to get to the next level. Brian also hosts #LinkedInLocal events all over the country, promoting the use of LinkedIn among professionals wanting to grow their careers.

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