Minnesota schools bolster transfers from other community colleges

Published 2:05 pm Saturday, March 4, 2017

ST. PAUL — Students sometimes can have problems transferring community college credits to a four-year school, but a growing number of private schools in Minnesota have made the path from community college into their programs as seamless as possible.

Schools realize they can bolster enrollment numbers by looking to community colleges.

When Steven Ahmad finished his associate degree at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, he decided to go for a four-year degree at Concordia University.

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“All my credits transferred — all 66 transferred to Concordia,” he said. “Which was a big deal.”

Kristin Vogel, associate vice president for traditional enrollment management at Concordia University in St. Paul, said transfers are part of the school’s mission and business model.

The university’s enrollment increased nearly 60 percent between 2011 and 2015, when most other private schools in Minnesota saw enrollment decline.

Student, in turn, are seeing a new, cheaper route to a bachelor’s degree.

“It’s maybe someone that always knew they wanted to come to Concordia, but it was a more affordable option to start at a community college,” Vogel said.

Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education commissioner, Larry Pogemiller, said he expects more schools to establish clear transfer agreements as a way to attract students.

“So it’s got kind of all the benefits that you would want for a student,” he said. “A less expensive pathway, kind of encouragement to excel and do well at your course work and then a certain guarantee that you could get into a four-year institution after your two-year path.”