by Diane VanDyke
The recent award of a three-year $400,000 Community College Transfer Initiative (CCTI) grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation creates the pathway for high-achieving, low-income community college students from Montgomery County Community College and the Community College of Philadelphia to transfer to Bryn Mawr College to complete their baccalaureate degrees.
“Over the years, Montgomery County Community College has been sending a steady stream of its graduates to Bryn Mawr College, primarily to its Katherine McBride Scholars program for non-traditional age students, but also traditional-age transfer students and graduates from its honors program,” said Director of Equity and Diversity Rose Makofske, who was instrumental in this relationship.
“While these students have been applying mostly on their own, with advice from College faculty and staff, this comprehensive and structured effort to identify, recruit, inform and advise potential participants in the CCTI program at Bryn Mawr, on the part of both colleges, can only result in a better result for our best and brightest women graduates.”
Montgomery County Community College’s increasingly diverse student population, both ethnically and socioeconomically, presents a great opportunity for Bryn Mawr to diversify its student transfer population while affording a real opportunity to talented and diverse students in Montgomery County, who would not otherwise be able to afford Bryn Mawr.
Montgomery County Community College initiated discussions with Bryn Mawr College over a year ago about the possibility of a transfer program for its talented students, and is pleased to participate in this collaboration. While Montgomery County Community College has several transfer agreements with area colleges and universities, this is Bryn Mawr College’s first formal community college transfer initiative.
The goal of this CCTI initiative is to increase community college transfer student enrollment at Bryn Mawr by 10 students each year to reach and maintain an overall community college enrollment of 30 students.
Faculty members from all three institutions will work collaboratively to create a comprehensive transfer credit guide for students. A program coordinator from Bryn Mawr will work with the community colleges to identify the best candidates and will maintain an office at each college campus.
A select number of highly qualified community college students will be able to take Bryn Mawr courses in the second half of their sophomore year, making them eligible to take part in Bryn Mawr’s junior year study-abroad program.
The initiative also includes a number of measures to help community college students succeed at Bryn Mawr, including a transfer orientation, an ongoing mentoring program, guaranteed research and internship opportunities, and a transfer seminar.
Bryn Mawr plans to continue the partnerships with the community college partners after the three-year grant period, with the expectation that once these programs are well established, the cost to administer them will be significantly reduced.
The program is part of a national initiative funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which was established in 2000 by the Estate of Jack Kent Cooke to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. Montgomery County Community College participates in a similar initiative with Bucknell University.