The Road Too Little Traveled

A new program to ease the transfer of community college students to elite institutions is on the horizon.
January 12, 2005

Making one's way from a community college to an elite university or liberal-arts college is not easy, especially for students from low-income families. But more help may be on the way, through a program that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is moving to establish.

The foundation is advertising a  job for someone to oversee a $7 million grant program aimed at encouraging selective institutions to admit, enroll and graduate more community college students from low-income backgrounds. The program does not yet exist; in fact, the foundation is, at the same time, requesting proposals from researchers to conduct a study to support its thesis:

that there are many highly qualified community college students who could thrive at elite institutions, but don't get the chance because the institutions can't find them or make room for them.

That's largely because most selective institutions leave relatively few admissions slots open for transfer students, and front-load their scholarship money for students in the first couple years of college.

The research study will both examine the qualifications and transfer potential of community college students, and try to identify elite institutions that have come up with creative ways to bring low-income community college students to their campuses.

The study should take six to nine months, after which the foundation expects to hold a national conference and then begin the new program on a pilot basis.


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