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Report Cites HCC-UMass Relationship as Successful Transfer Pathway

HOLYOKE — The relationship between Holyoke Community College and UMass Amherst is highlighted in a national report as a model of a successful transfer partnership other colleges would do well to emulate.

HCC and UMass were selected as one of only six pairs of ‘high-performing’ community colleges and partner universities in “The Transfer Playbook: Essential Practices for Two- and Four-Year Colleges” from the Aspen Institute and the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

“We analyzed the practices at partnerships of community colleges and four-year institutions with high rates of transfer-student success,” said Davis Jenkins, senior researcher at CCRC and co-author of the report released Tuesday. “This report presents the evidence-based strategies that community colleges and university leaders can use to improve outcomes on their own campuses.”

The free report is available online at as.pn/transfer1. It praises HCC for its “culture of commitment to transfer” and “the institution’s goal of improving transfer rates,” and cites President Bill Messner for regularly communicating “the importance of clear transfer pathways with UMass Amherst leaders.”

The report cites collaborative grants that align degree pathways and support student success for HCC students who transfer to UMass; HCC’s learning-community courses that “provide the sort of rich and rigorous learning experiences that will prepare students for four-year college coursework”; the HCC Honors program, including a new transfer pact between HCC and the Commonwealth Honors College at UMass; the emphasis on dual enrollment for high-school students taking college classes; and regular visits to HCC from UMass transfer representatives.

The report also notes the general expectation among faculty, staff, and advisors that students at HCC will transfer after earning a certificate or degree. “Everyone asks, ‘where are you going next?’” an HCC student quoted in the report remarks.

Each year, UMass Amherst accepts and enrolls more transfer students from HCC than from any other community college in Massachusetts. For the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters, a total of 203 HCC students transfered to UMass Amherst.

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