UA Announces Community College Partners for Cooke Foundation College Transfer Corps
April 7, 2008, Tuscaloosa, AL-The University of Alabama Education Policy Center and Office of Academic Affairs is pleased to announce the selection of ten community colleges throughout rural Alabama as partner institutions in their four-year, $1.74 million Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Alabama College Transfer Advising Corps program.
Last fall, David Hardy, Alabama College Transfer Advising Corps Project Director and Assistant Professor of Higher Education, sent a request for proposals to 17 eligible rural Alabama community colleges - primarily located in the Black Belt and Appalachian regions of the state - to apply to be project partners. After a rigorous review of the proposals received by a team of evaluators, ten institutions were recommended for inclusion in the project. All ten college presidents have now accepted the University's invitation. The colleges included in the start-up of this new statewide project are Bevill State Community College, Gadsden State Community College, George C. Wallace State Community College-Hanceville, George C. Wallace State Community College-Selma, Jefferson Davis Community College, John C. Calhoun State Community College, Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, Northeast Alabama Community College, Northwest Shoals Community College, and Snead State Community College.
"We were very impressed with the quality of the proposals that we received," says Hardy. "Each of the selected community colleges has clearly identified the needs of their students related to the college transfer advising services that our program is designed to provide. We were also very pleased that we had proposals from all across the state. With such a comprehensive distribution of partner college sites, the University will now be able to fulfill our promise to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to take a leadership role within the State of Alabama in improving our two-year to four-year college transfer rates and baccalaureate completion rates, particularly among highly talented but economically disadvantaged young Alabamians from rural communities."
The Alabama College Transfer Advising Corps is one of eleven programs funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation across the United States to improve college access and to provide the information resources related to college admissions, college readiness, and financial aid to high school and community college students who have limited assistance in navigating the sometimes maze-like pathway to the completion of a baccalaureate education. The Foundation has committed $1.03 million in grant funding to the University from 2007 through 2011 that, with matching and in-kind support from UA of almost $470,000 and from the partner colleges of over $270,000 will be used to place recent UA bachelor's and master's degree graduates in each community college to serve as College Transfer Advisors to help students with completing transfer admission applications, financial aid applications, and scholarship applications, as well as with making informed decisions about what four-year university will be the best choice for the continuation of their education after leaving the community college. The Advisors will also provide workshops for community college students and their families on such important issues as ensuring the transferability of their community college courses, the value of completing a bachelor's degree, arranging for housing at the four-year institution, and dealing with the effects of "transfer shock."
Hardy also indicates that, because of the University's commitment to this project, the importance that UA ties to having a meaningful, on-going presence across the state, and its desire to strengthen its relationships with Alabama's community colleges, Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Judy Bonner has committed additional funds from the Office of Academic Affairs over the next three years so that the Alabama College Transfer Advising Corps will begin at ten colleges rather than the eight that the funding from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation was able to support. "This is particularly exciting to us," says Hardy, "as it will allow this exciting new program to change lives in even more community college service areas Alabama."