Community Colleges, Historically Black Institutions Sign Pact to Ease Student Transition By Ronald Roach
WASHINGTON Leading higher education officials, including the presidents of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), have signed on to the first national articulation agreement between community colleges and historically Black colleges and universities.Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert, City College of San Francisco President Phillip R. Day and representatives from five higher education organizations signed the National Articulation and Transfer Network agreement at Howard University last month.The agreement — the culmination of an effort that began at City College of San Francisco in 1999 — enables the American Council on Education, NAFEO, AACC, the Council of the Great City Schools and the United Negro College Fund to make it easier for community college students nationwide to transfer from community colleges to HBCUs.“It’s a natural partnership and it’s long overdue,” says Dr. George R. Boggs, president of the AACC, which represents the nation’s 1,151 community colleges.Day told a gathering of officials and reporters at Howard that the backing of the parent higher education organizations represents a critical step for the establishment of fully operational transfer agreements among community colleges and historically Black institutions.“It’s not a reality yet. We hope to provide opportunity,” Day says.The push for a national articulation agreement initially grew out of City College of San Francisco’s effort to develop agreements with Black colleges that were connecting students from the San Francisco community college’s African American Achievement Program to four-year schools (see Black Issues, Aug. 17, 2000). California has no historically Black college or university. Dr. Henry Ponder, president of NAFEO, said he has long supported articulation agreements between community and Black colleges. NAFEO represents the nation’s 118 historically and predominantly Black colleges and universities.“When a student graduates with an associate’s degree from a community college, that (degree) ought to be certification for admission to any senior college in America,” Ponder says.He noted that Black college enrollments are much lower at the junior and senior class levels than at the freshman and sophomore ranks. “Let’s make our junior and senior classes as large as the freshman class. See what that will do for our enrollments,” Ponder says. Dr. Stanley Ikenberry, president of the American Council on Education, praised the agreement. He added that the traditional model of the four-year residential college experience is being joined by other educational models that also lead to a baccalaureate degree.“What you are engaged in presents a model for all higher education in this country,” Ikenberry says. Virgil Ecton, UNCF senior executive vice president, and Dr. Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, also signed the agreement, along with Swygert and Day. Swygert noted that Black colleges are going to have to devote special resources to developing a presence in community colleges as well as communities where no Black four-year schools exist. He said that Howard could establish recruiting offices in California.
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