A student works on a laptop with textbooks nearby.

Monday, January 25, 2021

The American Association of Community Colleges has awarded Northeastern Illinois University and the City Colleges of Chicago an Equity Transfer Initiative (ETI) partner grant. This partnership will improve the transfer process from the City Colleges to Northeastern. It is the only grant in the state and one of 16 partnerships from 13 states, representing 17 community colleges and 19 universities.

The ETI aims to increase transfer rates for African American, Hispanic, adult, and first-generation learners. It is being launched by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in partnership with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association on Public and Land-Grant Institutions (APLU). Through the ETI, colleges will see improved completion rates by ensuring that the alignment of programs includes completing the associate degree.

The two-year ETI will be funded by ECMC Foundation and Ascendium Education Group, which will award up to $27,500 to partnerships between community and four-year colleges to advance transfer pathways and align them to increase transfer and completion for underrepresented student populations. The goal of the ETI is to serve 6,000 students from the identified underrepresented groups over the two-year project period. Each team must place at least 100 students on one of five identified transfer pathways by the end of the first year and 300 or more total by the end of the second year.

Participants will receive transfer coaching support to advance work plans that include:

  • An assessment of the current and/or newly proposed relationship between two-year and four-year institutions to identify obstacles and develop response strategies that lead to a strong transfer relationship.
  • A review of current and/or new transfer pathways through an equity lens, specifically identifying evidence-based equity strategies or new innovative equity strategies that allow students to matriculate without losing credit and time to degree.

Partnerships/consortia will also have access to technical assistance provided by subject matter experts, participate in convenings to teach and learn from each other, and inform the development of train-the-trainer tools that colleges interested in strengthening their transfer pathways can use. Additionally, participants will focus on strengthening student support services and ensuring that culturally competent counseling, among other interventions, are considered as viable ways to serve these students.