New Collaborative announces initial grants to improve postsecondary transfer pathways in LA County
Education funders pool resources to improve student outcomes among 2 CSU campuses and 8 community colleges
LOS ANGELES – Funders with the Los Angeles Postsecondary Education Funders Collaborative today announced its first joint initiative, Transfer Success LA, which includes two grants to improve transfer pathways between two California State University (CSU) campuses and eight community colleges in LA County.
While 80% of entering community college students indicate they want to earn a bachelor's degree or higher, only 30% of students successfully transfer to a four-year institution within six years and only 13% earn a bachelor’s degree within those years. Data shows worse outcomes for students of color, and the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened these challenges for all students.
Given that backdrop, the Collaborative, which formed in 2018, issued a call for proposals in 2020 to find CSU institutions that wanted to design, test and document innovative approaches for improving transfer rates and preventing students from stopping out due to COVID. A subset of the Collaborative established a pooled fund in 2020 to support this initiative. Current pooled fund members include: California Community Foundation, College Futures Foundation, ECMC Foundation, The Ichigo Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Michelson 20MM Foundation, and The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation.
The first institutions receiving a total of $550,000 in grants from the Collaborative are California State University-Northridge and California State University-Dominguez Hills.
“We are thrilled to be part of this collaborative effort to help improve transfer pathways for students,” said Wendy Garen, President and CEO of The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. “Innovative partnerships like these can ensure students receive the additional support they need to complete four-year degrees.”
“When a community’s institutions work together, degree pathways become clearer, allowing students to efficiently move from one campus to another and ultimately graduate,” said Bill Moses, managing director of Kresge’s Education Program. “It’s rare to see funders collaborate like this. By pooling funds and making joint decisions, we can collectively see our dollars go further to improve outcomes at a greater scale.”
CSUN to partner with three community colleges
CSUN’s grant will support multiple initiatives to drive transfer success for traditionally underserved students including low-income students, students of color, former foster care students, adult students and veterans. Working in collaboration with L.A. Mission College, L.A. Pierce College and L.A. Valley College, they will create a coordinated communication system to deliver accurate, timely information both among partner campuses and to students; launch a transfer hub to facilitate transfer initiatives; and expand their IntersectLA (IXLA) student-run communications efforts.
Additionally, CSUN will pilot the Matador Peer Transfer Guide Program to use transfer students as coaches to advise and support prospective transfer students. Lastly, they will utilize potential scholarship dollars to provide financial aid to support student technology needs.
CSUDH to partner with five community colleges
CSUDH will strengthen transfer pathways between CSUDH and Compton College, El Camino College, West LA College, LA Harbor College, and LA Southwest College in the following ways:
Consolidate existing transfer programs into a centralized on-campus and virtual hub, led by the University Advisement Center.
Provide on-campus, virtual, and community resources traditionally reserved for CSUDH students to community college students who intend to and take steps to transfer to CSUDH.
Provide financial support for community college students in danger of not persisting or not transferring.
Gather input and advice from other higher education institutions and the broader community to assess and demonstrate scalability. CSUDH will work with UNITE-LA to engage members of the Student Success Workgroup, to seek advice in the development and implementation of this work. UNITE-LA will assist in developing a toolkit on this work and will be distributed to Compact members (and others) in order to help their campuses design and implement similar reforms.
About the Collaborative
The Los Angeles Postsecondary Education Funders Collaborative, a network of more than a dozen national, state and local funders, seeks to leverage the resources and knowledge of its members to create meaningful systemic change and drive equity outcomes that are beyond the capacity of any individual foundation. Members of the Collaborative recognize the central role that postsecondary education can and should play in building a more equitable and just society. As a learning and action community, the Collaborative supports the piloting, scaling, and sustaining of innovative programs and policies for the benefit of Los Angeles County students. Information about the Collaborative can be found at lapostsecondaryfunders.org.