Six States Scrutinized


Jane Wellman identified six states for intensive study to address state policy and 2/4 transfer. States were selected based on their grades for retention and degree completion in Measuring Up 2000, the state-by-state report card for higher education from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (2000).

Three states, Florida, New York, and North Carolina, received high grades. The other three, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Texas, received low grades.

As a common bond, all six states have large public community college sectors and a significant proportion of low-income students. They differ in history, philosophy, funding patterns, and higher education policies. All six states rely heavily on 2/4 transfer as the access point to the baccalaureate for low-income students.

Their success in achieving diversity in enrollments varies widely. All have substantial disparities between racial and ethnic groups in retention and baccalaureate degree completion. All are struggling with the uneven quality of high school preparation for college.

Nevertheless, Wellman found that the factors that influence and support 2/4 transfer are largely within the control of the states and institutions working together.

LESSONS LEARNED

Wellman recognizes some recurring patterns in the states' approach to transfer policy. For comparison, state policies are identified as structural (affecting the overall approach to postsecondary education) and academic (specific to 2/4 transfer). The states show much in common in their academic policies. The structural side has larger differences, particularly in the connection between mission, planning, and accountability structures. What becomes clear is that the high performing states have stronger ties between their structural and academic policies and fewer gaps in their overall state policy approach to transfer.


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