Lone Star College System awarded Lumina Foundation grant

Friday, January 17, 2014

Lone Star College System has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation to lead the Texas Reverse Transfer Initiative (TRTI) – a scale up approach to awarding associate degrees to students who transfer from community colleges to universities through reverse-transfer degrees as a key strategy in Texas’s degree attainment goal.

With 24 postsecondary institutions and five support foundations and organizations committed to the TRTI, this grant will fund the Texas Reverse Transfer Initiative between LSCS, the University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas System and assist in awarding associate degrees to students who transfer from community colleges to universities without first receiving an associate degree. This is an approach commonly known as reverse transfer.

“We will be developing support policies and provide a way to share information regarding best practices and what barriers exist to students looking to obtain a bachelor’s degree,” said Jonathan Durfield, LSCS associate vice chancellor, Government Affairs & Student Completion. “Reverse transfer is a key strategy in Texas to help more people attain degrees.” In Fall 2012, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board reported that 454,154 students transferred into a Texas university with credits earned at a Texas two-year college. Only 10.8 percent of those students (48,895) earned an associate degree before transferring, so the majority of the students are potentially eligible to receive a reverse transfer associate degree. “Research indicates that students who complete an associate degree and transfer to a four-year university do better than those who do not complete an associate degree,” Durfield said. “We’re hopeful that this reverse transfer program will provide an additional incentive for students as they work toward completing their bachelor’s degree.”

The focus of the grant is to support all students interested in transferring to any public 4-year Texas institution.

“The effective transfer of students and credits from community colleges is a critical part of The University of Texas System’s student success strategy and we are excited about the opportunity to work with the Lone Star College System, UT Austin, and other partners on this important state and national issue,” said Dr. Pedro Reyes, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

The Texas Reverse Transfer initiative between UT and LSCS is part of the Credit When It’s Due (CWID) initiative, a national grant program designed to facilitate the implementation and improve the process of reverse transfer degree programs. The initiative encourages partnerships of community colleges and universities to significantly expand programs that award associate degrees to transfer students when the student completes the requirements for the associate degree while pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025.

Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and the fastest-growing community college system in the nation. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, five centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.