NEBHE to Expand Transfer Guarantee to Three Northern New England States

By Emily Decatur

With funding secured, NEBHE will begin expanding community college transfer program to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont …

The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) will begin scaling the New England Transfer Guarantee (the Guarantee) to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont this month, having recently secured a three-year implementation grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (AVDF), Teagle Foundation and Davis Educational Foundation. The Guarantee allows community college graduates with an eligible GPA to transfer directly to participating four-year colleges and universities in the same state.

The northern expansion of the Guarantee is an extension of the initiative in the southern New England states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, where implementation was carried out in 2021 with the generous support of Teagle and the Davis Educational Foundation, which was established by established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc. As in southern New England, the Guarantee, when scaled in the three northern states, will emphasize transfer into liberal arts majors.

NEBHE’s partners in scaling the Guarantee include the Maine Community College System, the University of Maine System, the Maine Independent College Association, the Community College System of New Hampshire, the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) and the New Hampshire College and University Council, the Community College of Vermont and the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges.

Under a seven-month planning grant awarded in July 2021 by Teagle and AVDF, NEBHE affirmed that the time is ripe for scaling the Guarantee. Now, 49 higher education institutions (including 100% of community colleges, 72% of independent institutions and 100% of four-year public institutions) have signed Letters of Intent (LOIs) to participate in implementation. A complete list of these institutions can be found here.

NEBHE will collaborate with state partners to expand transfer opportunities for community college graduates in each state by streamlining and unifying transfer to both in-state public and independent colleges and universities. Community college graduates who meet the Guarantee’s eligibility criteria in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont will be able to transfer as juniors to complete their bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution in the same state.

By fortifying transfer pathways for community college students, the Guarantee appeals to the priorities of postsecondary leaders across the three northern New England states. “The University System of New Hampshire is excited to play an active role in the Transfer Guarantee implementation process in the Granite State,” according to Cathy Provencher, chief administrative officer and vice chancellor for financial affairs and treasurer at USNH. “Our mission has always been to provide high-quality, affordable higher education to our students, so strengthening the pathway by which our community college graduates can earn their bachelor’s degree within the USNH system is important to expanding the impact of public higher education in our state.”

Community college leadership has emphasized the same. “By creating streamlined, reliable pathways for CCV graduates to earn their bachelor’s degree, the Transfer Guarantee will increase equitable and affordable access to quality higher education in Vermont,” said Joyce Judy, president of the Community College of Vermont.

Janet Sortor, vice president and chief academic officer of the Maine Community College System, commented on the way the Guarantee is arriving on the heels of another win for postsecondary education in the state. “Implementing the Transfer Guarantee in Maine at a time when the state has just rolled out a free community college program,” Sortor explained, “will be a real boon to students looking for a good deal on a valuable bachelor’s degree in Maine.”

Involving the public four-years—a new addition, specific to the northern New England Guarantee—also has partners excited. Saint Joseph’s College of Maine President Jim Dlugos noted: “getting the Guarantee up and running will strengthen existing cross-sector communication between the Maine independent colleges and the University of Maine System and open up channels for robust collaboration at the faculty-level—a real game-changer for postsecondary student success throughout Maine.”

“NEBHE aims to leverage important lessons learned from the Guarantee’s success in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island as we collaboratively implement this transfer initiative in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont,” said Michael K. Thomas, president and CEO of NEBHE. “We appreciate the support of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, Teagle Foundation and the Davis Educational Foundation for our efforts to increase associate and bachelor’s degree completion rates and expand our region’s talent pipeline.”

Emily Decatur is NEBHE’s senior program manager of transfer initiatives.


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