Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal, and written by Lindsay Marchello, associate editor.
UNC-Chapel Hill is expanding its transfer student program by adding partnerships with Guilford Technical and Central Piedmont community colleges.
About 800 students transfer to UNC-Chapel Hill every year, with 44 percent transferring from community colleges. In 2006, UNC-Chapel Hill launched the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program to allow even more community college students to transfer to and graduate from the university.
"Universities, both public and private, are increasingly recognizing the value of a talent pipeline from the community colleges,"
Peter Hans, president of the N.C. Community College system, told Carolina Journal. "Our students who complete their associate's degree graduate at a higher rate than those who start at a four-year institution to begin with."
Hans said the program also is a good financial option for students. Community colleges are typically less expensive than a traditional four-year university. Students participating in C-STEP are able to save money by transferring their credits from the community college to the university system.
Through C-STEP, qualified high school or community college students are guaranteed admission to UNC-Chapel Hill if they pursue and earn an associate's degree from a partner community college while maintaining a 3.2 grade point average or higher. Students from families at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for the program.
C-STEP students will receive transition and support services while enrolled in the program, as well as academic advising and mentoring opportunities.
On Jan. 11, UNC-Chapel Hill announced it was partnering with the two new community colleges, bringing the total partnerships to 13 schools across the state.
The other partner schools include Alamance Community College, Cape Fear Community College, Carteret Community College, Central Carolina Community College, Craven Community College, Durham Technical Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Robeson Community College, Sandhills Community College, Southwestern Community College, and Wake Technical Community College.
"As a community college transfer student myself, C-STEP is particularly meaningful to me,"
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt said in a news release. "I have witnessed how C-STEP provides opportunities for our students to pursue higher education and advance their dreams while enriching the university experience for everyone around them."
The expansion was made possible with a $1.3 million grant from the North Carolina Glaxo SmithKline Foundation.
In addition to the expansion, UNC-Chapel Hill is also launching a new component to C-Step called the Pathways to STEM Success. The program aims to support students entering into the STEM workforce by providing field specific mentoring, summer internships, and lab assistantships.