For many students community college is the right path towards their education. It provides an environment that allows them to figure out their education goals while saving them money. In the state of Kentucky the average cost of community and technical college is $6,000. In comparison, public universities can cost $13,000 a year and private universities can cost $18,000. By transferring credits from a community college to a university students can save themselves money.
Taking the Transfer Path
By knowing the transfer path students are well prepared for what their future holds. Between 2020 and 2021 the state saw 30,000 students enrolled in a transfer pathway. By the 2026-2027 school year only 23% of the students will have transferred. This means the other 77% will not have transferred. These students may be changing their majors, will be enrolling to transfer, or will complete their associates. Of the 23% that transfer only 3,800 will complete their bachelor’s degree while the others will not. For those students who do transfer and obtain their bachelors degree their income potential increases. In Kentucky the average individual with an associates degree earns $37,000 per year. This number increases to $63,000 for graduates with a bachelor’s degree from a research university.
There are different reasons the state has invested resources into their education system. Besides having the potential to earn a higher income the state wants its population to succeed. Kentucky is aimed towards having over half its population having earned a post secondary degree. This goal is currently scheduled to be met by the year 2030. Another reason focusing on transfer students is important is because it is one way to combat equity issues in higher education. Studies have found that white students are twice as likely to transfer than black or hispanic students. The same can be found for students that come from higher income families versus lower income families.
Milestones to Success
One way this equity issue is being addressed is through milestones focused on a student’s experience. There are four of these milestones. The first is keeping students on track to complete math in their first year. The second is making sure the students complete English in their first year. The third milestone is to make sure the students complete twenty-four credits or more in their first year. The last milestone is ensuring the students graduate with an associates degree. By providing these milestones and creating a path for students to follow black and hispanic students are more likely to succeed and transfer to a university or private college.
While nationally the percentage of students that transfer has decreased the state of Kentucky has seen an increase. From the year 2020 to 2021 the nation saw a decrease of 8% in transfer students. Kentucky, however, saw an increase of 2% or ninety students. Kentucky’s overall goal is to provide students with the tools and opportunities to transfer. This vision is being followed through by putting its student’s needs as top priority, collaborating for its student’s success, and removing obstacles and barriers.
Source: Kentucky Student Success Collaborative