Connecticut Has Leading Role in First Year of Higher Education Transfer Guarantee Initiative

Connecticut by the Numbers

According to the inaugural New England Transfer Guarantee Enrollment Report, published this month by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), the innovative initiative is off to a solid start, with its first year providing solid opportunities for students in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to take advantage of higher education opportunities in the other New England states. 

The New England Transfer Guarantee is a groundbreaking initiative, fully operationalized in the southern New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island as of 2021. The program enables eligible community college graduates to transfer into participating four-year institutions - admission guaranteed.

In July of 2022, NEBHE was awarded a three-year implementation grant to begin expanding the program to the northern New England States of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.  The new reports presents the accumulated data for the program’s first year, including a comparison of the three participating states.

In the initial group of 470 Guarantee students, Connecticut enrolled 128 unique students between Spring 2021 and Spring 2022, comprising 27% of total Guarantee enrollment in that year-long period.  Overall, 22 of 35 participating institutions have enrolled students through the Guarantee according to the report (63%), including  6 of 9 Connecticut institutions. The data also indicted that 94% of the Connecticut students were full-time; 7% were part-time students.

Connecticut also had the highest proportion (55%) of Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) students enrolled during that time frame.  The median age at time of enrollment for Guarantee students in Connecticut was 23. In Connecticut, over two-thirds of all Guarantee students were enrolled in a liberal arts major (68%) compared to only 48% of students in Massachusetts.

Key findings highlighted in the 20-page report include:

  • Guarantee students have an impressive track record of academic achievement. The average cumulative community college GPA for Guarantee students between Spring 2021 and Spring 2022 was a 3.33, which is well above the highest GPA threshold that participating institutions can select as Guarantee admissions criteria.
  • Guarantee students tend to enroll full-time upon transfer to participating institutions. Because of the strong association between full-time enrollment and desirable vertical transfer outcomes, it was reassuring to see that over three-fourths (77%) of Guarantee students in this inaugural reporting period are enrolling full-time.
  • Guarantee students are consistently being awarded significant institutional scholarships. One of the major innovations of this initiative is the way it opens up consideration for substantial institutional scholarships to include community college transfer students. As has been previously reported, Guarantee students who enrolled between Spring 2021 and Spring 2022 were awarded, in sum, well over $4.5 million dollars in institutional scholarships and grants ($4,566,131, to be precise). With maximum awards in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island coming in at approximately $34,000, $57,000, and $20,000, respectively, it seems clear to us that institutions are taking the Guarantee’s emphasis on affordability very seriously.
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The Guarantee is modeled on existing state-specific transfer policies, thereby unifying public and independent transfer in these three states and increasing access and opportunity for the students there. The structure of the Guarantee also addresses fundamental barriers to transfer success.

Participating receiving institutions agree to waive their application fee and guarantee the meaningful transfer of associate-earned credits to mitigate credit the credit loss that typically plagues transfer to independents. These institutions also commit to making community college transfer students eligible for generous institutional merit aid in the form of grants and scholarships. In Connecticut and Massachusetts, the Guarantee was operationalized in Spring 2021. Rhode Island accepted its first Guarantee enrollments in the Fall 2021.

The nine participating institutions in Connecticut include Albertus Magnus College, Goodwin University, Mitchell College, Sacred Heart University, Quinnipiac University, University of Bridgeport, University of Hartford, University of New Haven and University of Saint Joseph.

NEBHE promotes greater education opportunities and services for the residents of New England and its more than 270 colleges and universities. It works across the six New England states to help leaders assess, develop and implement sound education practices and policies of regional significance; to promote regional cooperation and programs that encourage the efficient use and sharing of educational resources; and to strengthen the relationship between higher education and the economic well-being and quality of life in New England.

NEBHE has earned additional underwriting support to scale the Guarantee to the northern New England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont—a process that’s currently underway, according to officials.

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