DURHAM – Fourteen students at Durham Tech already have one foot on a university campus.
When applicants fall just short of admission standards at NC Central University, NCCU doesn’t write them off. Under a 2014 agreement with Durham Tech, the university invites selected applicants to join a program called Eagle Connect.
The students pay tuition to Durham Tech and take classes there, working toward their intended major.
But they pay NCCU for room and board. They live in a residence hall on NCCU’s campus, half a mile from Durham Tech. They eat at a university dining hall. They receive critical academic advising and enrichment programs as part of the effort to smooth their transition to a four-year institution.
Once the students earn an associate degree, they can enroll at NCCU.1
“We work with them to incentivize them to work a little harder … and create a pathway for them to come back to us to complete their degree,” said Dr. Johnson Akinleye, now NCCU’s Chancellor.
“When a student lives on campus and assimilates with other students, they tend to do better,” he said. “They see themselves as being in college, even though they’re not here yet.… It’s very motivating for them.”
Community-college transfer students are a large part of North Carolina’s public universities – 28% of undergraduates are transfer students, and community-college alumni account for more than half of them.
They’re also the fastest-growing group of transfer students: Community-college transfers have increased 32% since 2010.2 Transfer students account for a particularly high percentage of students at UNC Charlotte and Fayetteville State University.3
An analysis by RTI International found that without orders from the legislature, state universities and community colleges are already forming partnerships to ease the way to a bachelor’s degree for community college graduates:
- UNC-Chapel Hill’s C-STEP program is a guaranteed admission program that focuses on low- to moderate-income students. It serves 200-250 students who attend community college before enrolling at Chapel Hill.
- UNC Charlotte’s Passport Program is a bridge program that makes students more competitive for admission and increases their likelihood for success.4 Selected applicants are invited to do their first year of coursework at Central Piedmont Community College. They receive academic support from both CPCC and UNC Charlotte, and they receive priority in transfers to the university for their second year.5
- Winston-Salem State’s Dual Admission Program offers students who are initially denied admission dual enrollment at WSSU and Forsyth Technical Community College, where they first earn an associate degree.6
So even before any legislative directive, North Carolina’s public universities and community colleges were partnering to help students succeed.
Video of Eagle Connect agreement: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IVdK6nKRAGo&list=UUzhzd9p9BXS7CfU9Y84mPEQ
2 http://www.northcarolina.edu/apps/bog/index.php?mode=browse_premeeting&mid=5630&code=bog, Committee on Educational Planning, Policies and Programs, Special Session – Report on NCGAP, p. 6.
3Ibid, p. 10.
4Ibid, p. 5.
6Report on NCGAP, p. 5.