NEBHE announced that 16 Massachusetts four-year independent institutions, along with all of the state’s 15 community colleges, have signed onto the Massachusetts Independent College Transfer Guarantee.
Supported by a grant from the Teagle Foundation and the Davis Educational Foundation, the “Massachusetts Guarantee” is a statewide effort to establish systematic transfer pathways between Massachusetts community colleges and four-year independent institutions, focusing on the liberal arts. The Massachusetts Guarantee is part of the New England Independent College Transfer Guarantee initiative.
NEBHE and it’s partners—the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) and the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges—are co-signers of the Massachusetts Memorandum of Agreement. Institutional signatories to date include: Becker College, Boston Baptist College, Cambridge College, Curry College, Dean College, Fisher College, Gordon College, Laboure College, Lasell University, Lesley University, MCPHS University, Nichols College, Regis College, Springfield College, Suffolk University and William James College. Additional institutions are expected to join and are welcome to sign on to the agreement at any time.
The goal of the Massachusetts Guarantee is to unify transfer within the state. It is modeled on the MassTransfer A2B Degree program. The Massachusetts Guarantee ensures acceptance at a participating institution for associate degree-holding students who have met a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5. The Massachusetts Guarantee landing page is a navigational resource for community college graduates seeking to transfer to a four-year institution to earn their bachelor’s degree.
After signing the Massachusetts Memorandum of Agreement, institutions will begin accepting transfer applications from eligible community college graduates early as January 2021. In addition to guaranteed admission, transfer applicants benefit from waived application fees, financial aid and scholarships tailored to community college graduates, as well as defined transfer pathways.
“NEBHE is very pleased to work with a distinguished group of state and institutional partners to create expanded transfer pathways for students in Massachusetts,” said Michael K. Thomas, president & CEO of NEBHE, “Stronger links between our two-year institutions and our outstanding independent colleges and universities simply makes sense. The Massachusetts Guarantee will expand the range of high-quality, affordable bachelor’s degree programs available—benefiting our students, our institutions and our workforce.”
AICUM President Richard Doherty said “many of our member institutions are thrilled to be collaborating with NEBHE in this important effort to promote transfer pathways for Massachusetts community college graduates. Many community college students in Massachusetts have found our member institutions to be a highly accessible and affordable option for transfer to complete their bachelor’s degree and jumpstart their career. This new initiative will expand opportunities for more seamless transitions and allow even more transfer students to attend an institution in Massachusetts that best meets their educational aspirations and increases their opportunity to be successful.”
The 15 Massachusetts Community Colleges serve more than half the undergraduate students in the Massachusetts public higher education system, accounting for 50% of undergraduate credit enrollments. This pool of talented community college students helps drive the state’s economy with many graduating and enrolling in a four-year institution. “The Massachusetts Guarantee expands existing community college and independent institutional partnerships, and provides students with a higher education option that may better serve their educational needs and career aspirations,” said Tom Sannicandro, director of the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges.
Emily Decatur is associate director of NEBHE’s Regional Student Program & Transfer Initiatives.