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By Wendy Sedlak, Ph.D. and Darla Cooper, Ed.D.
Nearly two-thirds of Black students who attend college in California begin their postsecondary journey at a community college. But it’s clear they’re not getting the support they need—more than 60 percent leave school without a degree or certificate and without transferring to a university.
Getting to that point of transfer is critical, given that jobs for people with only a high school diploma are declining and lifetime earnings are significantly higher for bachelor’s degree holders. If more students could make it to the “transfer gate,” their chances of earning a quality credential would increase dramatically, and racial inequities in transfer rates would decrease.
These briefs show the findings from the first phase of The RP Group’s African American Transfer Tipping Point project, in partnership with Lumina Foundation. While fewer Black students make it to the “gate,” those who do transfer at a rate greater than their peers. Here’s what we learned:
Comprehensive and coordinated culturally relevant services and programs can help transfer-motivated students know they belong, are valued, and are on the path to success. Together, we’ll continue to support the whole student—not only academically but also their financial, personal, and social needs—to help learners get to and through that all-important transfer gate to a fulfilling life.
Wendy Sedlak, Ph.D., is strategy director for research and evaluation at Lumina Foundation, an independent foundation that strives for racial equity as it helps all Americans learn beyond high school. She is an advisory board member on the African American Transfer Tipping Point study by the RP Group, which helps California’s community colleges increase student success through research, planning, and professional development.
Darla M. Cooper, Ed.D., is the executive director for The RP Group. She is an educational leader with more than 20 years of experience in the California Community College system as an expert in research and evaluation dedicated to using inquiry, data, and evidence to improve the lives of all community college students.Back to News