Transfer Friendly Policies and Processes


Within the January 2019 Inside Higher Ed publication entitled, What College Students Need Most, David Cunningham emphasized that advanced education is not just about getting a job.  It’s about finding your calling.  The language of vocation or calling has become more popular because, while it addresses many quality-of-life issues, it does not neglect the pressures felt by college students and their parents about future employment.  This is what NWC does- help traditional students see their vocation beyond the job.  There is an untapped market of these types of students growing at astronomical rates at our local community colleges (they enroll an estimated 41% of all U.S. undergraduate students). The community college does a good job teaching the skill…and this is where NWC can come in and help turn those skills into a vocation.  Respecting what community colleges and 4-year institutions bring to the collaboration is key to success to attracting transfer students.  

Ideas from other institutions

There are many ways colleges and universities can partner with community colleges to help ease this transition for students. Some of the suggestions include: shared faculty and educational space, two-plus-two agreements (guided pathways), special scholarship for transfer students, creating specific degrees for community college campuses that are not offered at the main campus (including computing and technical degrees), and service-learning collaboration between classes (Davis, 2009).  Two-year degree students are a “good risk” because they already know how to study.  

Suggestions for NWC

Since NWC has already passed an updated transfer agreement that allows the general education requirements to be met with an AA, AS or ADN degree, we have already taken steps to be more transfer friendly.  NWC needs  to continue to make progress in this area to work with national and area community colleges to develop articulation agreements that match our current transfer policy. It should explore the possibility of guided pathways and service-learning opportunities.  

Strategic Plan

Goal 3.2 – Pursue strategic enrollment growth – Increase graduate and adult enrollment.

Goal 3.3 – Pursue strategic enrollment growth – Develop and resource and integrated marketing strategy.

Goal 4.2 – Embrace and celebrate cultural and ethnic diversity– Increase diversity among students.

Additional Resources:

Bailey. T. (2017). Guided Pathways at Community Colleges: From Theory to Practice.Association of American Colleges & Universities [AACU].  Retrieved from

Bailey, T., Smith Jaggars, S., Jenkins, D. (2018). What We Know About Guided Pathways. Community College Research Center. Retrieved from

Burack, C., Lanspery, S., Piñeros Shields, T., & Singleton. S. (2019).Partnerships That Promote Success: Lessons and Findings from the Evaluation of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Community College Transfer Initiative. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Retrieved from

Cox, P. (2018). Minnesota’s private colleges opening up to community college students. Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved from

Fain, P. (2014). No transfer needed. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from:

Fain, P. (2015). The leaky pipeline. Inside Higher Ed.Retrieved from

FinAid. (2019). College partnerships and articulation agreements. Retrieved from

Mangan, K. (2018). These 2-Year and 4-Year college partnerships keep students from falling through the cracks: Collaboration between community colleges and 4-year institutions.  Chronicle of Higher Education.Retrieved from

Smith, A.A. (2016). Building clear paths. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from