For Immediate Release

Community College Students Achieve Their Goals with Transfer Guarantee Program

Students Who Transfer to Complete 4-Year Degrees at Independent Colleges Succeed Academically and Unlock Financial Support

Boston, MA — March 14, 2024 — The New England Transfer Guarantee released its second annual enrollment report showing that community college students transferring to four-year private not-for-profit institutions perform well academically, unlock financial support previously unavailable to them, and bring diverse life experiences to their new campuses.

The report features analysis of data on community college students transferring to independent colleges in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island during the program’s first two full academic years (2021 and 2022). The program enables eligible community college graduates to transfer into participating four-year (baccalaureate) institutions with a simpler application process and admission guaranteed. 35 colleges and universities in these three states participate in the Transfer Guarantee Program.

The report offers insights for students, families, policy makers and institutions concerned with higher education access, affordability, transfer efficiency and graduation rates.

Key Findings:

  • Students are maintaining strong academic achievement pre- and post-transfer – The average cumulative grade point average (GPA) for Guarantee students between Spring 2021 and Spring 2023 was 3.30, which is well above the highest threshold that participating baccalaureate institutions can select as admissions criteria for the program. The students’ academic performance as measured by average GPA grew stronger to 3.55 at the end of the first semester at the receiving institution.
  • Students gain access to financial support – Students participating in the Guarantee between Spring 2021 and Spring 2023 were awarded $12.4 million in institutional scholarships and grants, improving affordability of a four-year degree. Transfer students have historically missed out on merit aid as institutions have used it as a tool for enrolling admitted first-time full-time students straight from high school.
  • Students bring diverse life experience to their new campuses – Overall, 43% of Guarantee students who enrolled in the three southern New England states between Spring 2021 and Spring 2023 identified as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), with Connecticut having the highest proportion (55%) of BIPOC students enrolling through the Guarantee during the same time period. The median age for Guarantee students was 24 for full-time students versus 33 for part-time students.
  • The first cohort of students graduated in efficient timeframes – The central goal of the Guarantee remains to support students on their path to achieving a baccalaureate degree. For the 89 students who completed a bachelor’s degree program through the beginning of Spring 2023, the average time-to-degree was four semesters.
  • Student retention is strong – Students participating in the Transfer Guarantee continued in their academic programs at high rates with the program wide one-year retention rate coming in at 92%.

“Success on these measures benefits students and the institutions at both ends of the transfer process and delivers on critical goals: strengthening overall and individual academic achievement, as well improving graduation rates, affordability and campus diversity,” said Michael K. Thomas, President and CEO, New England Board of Higher Education.

Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont

The Transfer Guarantee is currently being scaled for the northern New England states with 15 independent institutions and 3 public four-year institutions actively reviewing the agreement to join the Guarantee. The first students in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont will be able to enroll starting in the Fall 2024 term, with a larger group anticipated in Spring 2025.

What Students Need to Know

Students who participate in the New England Transfer Guarantee follow these steps:

  • Earn an associate degree with a cumulative community college grade point average (GPA) of 2.0, 2.5 or 3.0.
  • The required GPA is set by the receiving college or university.
  • Select a participating institution (college or university) in the state where you earned your associate degree.
  • Apply for admission. The application fee and college essay are waived.
  • Eligible students are guaranteed admission.

Benefits to students include streamlined transfer pathways, full transfer of associate degree credits and the opportunity for institutional scholarships and financial aid.

“The New England Transfer Guarantee has created a truly student-centered path from community college to a four-year degree, reducing the stumbling blocks that prevent or delay students in reaching their goals, and reducing the added expense and time to completion that disrupt many transfer experiences,” said Connecticut Representative Gregg Haddad, who also serves as chair of the New England Board of Higher Education.

About the Transfer Guarantee

The New England Transfer Guarantee began in the southern New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island in 2021. The program enables eligible community college graduates to transfer into participating four-year institutions – admission guaranteed. The implementation of pathways in the three northern New England states is underway—with first enrollments in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont expected in Fall 2024. The New England Board of Higher Education receives support from the Teagle Foundation, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Davis Educational Foundation, and the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation to carry out this work.

About the New England Board of Higher Education

NEBHE advances equitable postsecondary outcomes through convening, research, and programs for students, institution leaders and policymakers. Our vision is that everyone in New England will have lifelong access to affordable, high-value postsecondary education.