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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 11, 2021 08:52 AM
From: Representative Emily Kinkead
To: All House members
Subject: A Degree with a Guarantee – Transferring from Community College to PASSHE
As the cost of higher education continues to rise across the country, more and more students are deciding to start at a community college before transferring to finish their degree. Each year, roughly 30,000 Pennsylvania community college students transfer to a 4-year university, with 85% staying in state. Much of this progress is due to our efforts at the state level to streamline the process of transferring credits and align community college programs with corresponding programs at our public universities.
Additionally, as we work to cut costs in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education through Act 50 of 2020, one of the best ways to do this is to allow these kinds of credit transfers from community colleges. The Center for College Affordability and Productivity lists “Encourage More Students to Attend Community College” as its No. 1 recommendation to reduce the cost of college. The benefits community colleges offer to the student are numerous and range from cost savings to scheduling flexibility, while public benefits include fewer tax dollars spent per student and positive externalities for local economies. Community colleges provide an alternative to those who wish to continue their education at a lower cost, with fewer entry requirements, and often with a higher level of convenience, while reducing the mounting costs to the taxpayer.
With that said, we still have more work to do. In order to increase the number of transfer students who are able to complete a bachelor’s degree in a timely manner, I am introducing legislation that will guarantee admission into the PASSHE system with junior standing to community college students who complete an approved Associate Degree for Transfer program. A similar program was introduced in California to immense success—48% of students in the program earned a BA degree within two years of transferring compared to only 27% for traditional transfer students.
Too often, the journey from community college to 4-year degree is convoluted and expensive in a way that discourages students from completing school. Implementing this program would guarantee a clear, affordable pathway for all students and send a strong message: if you work hard, you will be able to earn a degree and graduate without crippling student debt. Please join me in co-sponsoring this effort which will improve access to cost-effective higher education across Pennsylvania.
(This bill was previously introduced as HB 2447.)

Introduced as HB705