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Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges

Author Bio(s)

David Braun is a Professor at Southside Virginia Community College. Katherine Clatterbuck is a Dual Enrollment Coordinator at Southside Virginia Community College. Faison Dana is a Biology Instructor and Associate Dean at Blue Ridge Community College. Leonda Keniston is Dean of Humanities, Fine Arts, and Social Sciences at Piedmont Virginia Community College. John Lipp is Associate Dean of Engineering, Business, and Public Services at John Tyler Community College. Tamra Lipscomb is Director of Technical Services at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College. Christian Mason is Mathematics Department Chair at John Tyler Community College. Cindy Wallin is Interim Dean of Science, Math, and Engineering at Central Virginia Community College.

Abstract

Many Virginians aspiring to earn a four-year degree intentionally begin their journey at one of the 23 community colleges within the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). In concert with those aspirations, the VCCS is committed to providing its residents an affordable and accessible program of study that prepares them to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree at any one of Virginia’s colleges and universities. The establishment of an affordable and accessible pathway was one of the emanating purposes of the community college (Mellow & Heelan, 2015). The dream of affordable transfer education is one of three key legislative efforts of the VCCS, and statute 23.1-907 of the Commonwealth of Virginia mandates transfer agreements between the institutions. With at least 38 transfer agreements and more than 300 articulation agreements developed between the VCCS and the four-year colleges and universities, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) states that up to 32% of transfer students do so under the auspices of guaranteed admission agreements (Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, 2017). Transfer pathway must be accessible and easily achieved in the least amount of time, with the least amount of required credits, and the least amount of cost and debt. To build a better bridge to the bachelor’s degree, Virginia must examine the current situation, consider best practices within the Commonwealth and across the nation, and seek to enact policies and procedures that achieve that goal.

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