Bryn Mawr Receives Grant for New Community College Partnerships

Posted April 7th, 2011 at 2:37 pm.

jkcf-logotype-2-high-resBryn Mawr College has received a three-year, $400,000 Community College Transfer Initiative (CCTI) grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to fund its participation in a program that helps community-college students transfer to prestigious four-year institutions, announced Provost Kim Cassidy today.

Through the grant, Bryn Mawr will partner with the Community College of Philadelphia and Montgomery County Community College to create a pipeline for high-achieving, low-income community-college transfer students to attend Bryn Mawr.

The Bryn Mawr/CCP/MCCP Transfer Initiative is the first formal partnership between Bryn Mawr and a community college, funded by one of three new CCTI grants awarded in the second round of the program.

Other institutions participating in the program include Amherst College, Bucknell University, Cornell University, Mount Holyoke College, UC Berkeley, UNC Chapel Hill, USC, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

“Access to excellence was the reason behind Bryn Mawr’s founding, and with each successive generation, the College has expanded this originating mandate as it seeks to enroll the most qualified women from all parts of this country and throughout the world,” said Cassidy. “We’re pleased to partner with the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Montgomery County Community College, and the Community College of Philadelphia to continue and strengthen that commitment.”

The goal of the initiative is to increase community-college transfer-student enrollment at Bryn Mawr by 10 students each year to reach and maintain a stable overall community college enrollment of 30 students.

A key component of the initiative will have faculty members from all three institutions working collaboratively to create a comprehensive transfer-credit guide for students interested in the program.

The initiative also calls for the appointment of a program coordinator who will be tasked with facilitating efforts to increase overall awareness of Bryn Mawr as a viable option to students at each community college. The coordinator will also work with the schools to identify the best-qualified potential transfer candidates. Each participating community college will set aside space on campus for the coordinator to provide office hours, and faculty representatives from a variety of academic disciplines will make periodic visits to answer questions.

Other planned recruitment programming includes customized open houses and campus visits, transfer workshops with admissions staff, and faculty advising for accepted transfers.

A select number of highly qualified MCCC and CCP 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.

“This is a significant and unique arrangement that will be incredibly beneficial for students who are able to take advantage of this opportunity,” says Cassidy.

The initiative also includes a number of measures to help CCP and MCCC students succeed once they join the Bryn Mawr community.

These measures will include both a transfer orientation and an ongoing mentoring program, guaranteed research and internship opportunities, and a transfer seminar modeled on one offered by the College’s McBride Scholars Program.

Bryn Mawr plans to continue the partnerships with MCCC and CCP 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.

“By the conclusion of the grant period, we will have cemented the necessary contacts at our partner institutions, and the pipeline of students from CCP and MCCC will be firmly in place,” says Cassidy.

Dean of Studies Judy Balthazar and Dean of Admissions Laurie Koehler will serve as co-directors of Bryn Mawr’s CCTI, providing oversight for the program and hiring and supervising program support staff.

Currently, the majority of  Bryn Mawr students who have attended community college are admitted through the College’s McBride Scholars Program for women beyond traditional college age who are working towards an undergraduate degree.

“The McBride Program has been incredibly successful, and those students are an integral piece of the Bryn Mawr community,” says Cassidy. “We’re excited about the grant because it will allow us to not only complement and even strengthen the existing McBride Program, but also attract those real shining stars at the community-college level who don’t fit the McBride age criteria. This program will provide all of these students the opportunity for a much more seamless transition than was previously possible.”

Bryn Mawr has a long tradition of providing academically talented women from across the socioeconomic spectrum access to a world-class liberal arts education.

In 2010-2011, the College offered grant assistance to 65 percent of undergraduate students, and the College meets 100 percent of every student’s demonstrated need. Since 2000 the College has partnered with the Posse Foundation to recruit highly qualified students from the Boston public school system to Bryn Mawr.

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