Students looking to transfer from community college to Loras College and other select private colleges or universities in Iowa will find a more transparent, cost-effective, and coordinated process thanks to a three-year grant awarded by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and Teagle Foundation to the Iowa Private Transfer Collaborative (IPTC), a consortium of 17 Iowa nonprofit colleges and universities and two nonprofit organizations focused on Iowa higher education. The $350,000 grant is a part of the foundations’ shared Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts initiative.
The grant will fund work across the state aimed at bringing together faculty from community colleges and four-year institutions to ensure the seamless transfer of academic credits and placing a greater emphasis on the retention rate for transfer students from community colleges to four-year institutions.
According to the 2022 Fall Enrollment Report from the Iowa Department of Education, fall enrollment across Iowa’s community colleges increased by 502 students from 2021. This increase represents a 0.6 percent rise in the total number of students enrolled last fall: 82,251 compared to 81,749 in 2021. In contrast, community college enrollment nationally decreased by 0.4 percent. Iowa’s increase in community college enrollment is the first since fall 2010 when enrollment peaked at 106,597 students.
Under the grant, private institutions will work to expand their program offerings to include the existing statewide transfer majors of biology, chemistry, English, history, psychology, and sociology. Other transfer credit policies will also be implemented, including the expansion of general education articulation agreements and reverse transfer opportunities. A guaranteed admission agreement for students earning Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees at Iowa community colleges is a significant initiative in the grant.
The grant will also fund the redevelopment of the IowaPrivateColleges.org website to help centralize student transfer information for private colleges and universities. A part-time project director will be hired through the grant to coordinate grant activities. The IPTC joins many other states in receiving an implementation grant to open transfer pathways to liberal arts degrees for community college students.