November 18, 2013 09:38AM
By Catherine Abercrombie
UConn’s recent proposal to limit the amount of transfer credits accepted from other institutions was troubling.
Through the years, the state legislature has been consistently supportive of UConn’s projects and has worked diligently to ensure our flagship school remains competitive and on target to continue offering top-notch educational opportunities to students from across the nation.
At the same time, we have worked closely with our state’s community college system, ensuring the necessary resources to educate students for technical and skilled careers with top-of-the-line facilities and the highest quality instruction.
Students choose to go to community colleges for a variety of reasons. Some students seek to earn an associate’s degree or certificate, some are adults restarting their education, and some choose community college for financial affordability. Regardless of their goals, many community college students attend with the intention of continuing their education at four-year institutions.
UConn’s proposed new policy would have dropped the number of credits a student could transfer from 90 to 30.
I was surprised to learn that UConn cited concerns of academic competitiveness and achievement as the basis for this proposal. The implication that the education offered at community colleges might not be on par with that of UConn is puzzling. We are proud of the quality education and opportunities provided at our community colleges.
One of the main reasons students and their families choose a community college over a four-year institution is affordability. It is not the lack of desire to obtain a bachelor’s degree, but the financial consideration at the time of making the choice.
If UConn was to move forward with the proposal of accepting no more than 30 credits total, only 15 of which can be general education courses, many students whose financial circumstances require earning some credits at a community college would have been excluded from earning a four-year degree.
I am glad UConn is holding action until they discuss this issue in more detail. In the meantime, my recommendation to UConn’s Senate is to consider ways of integrating, connecting and working with community colleges to ensure basic general courses are in line with UConn’s standards, creating the best outcome for UConn, state community colleges, and most importantly, the students these institutions serve.
Access to quality education, including a college education for those who seek one, should be an imperative of our state.
As such, we should work together to help each and every student make it to the finish line.
The current practice benefits many students who cannot afford to go into a four-year college as freshmen. To move forward with this idea would be a disservice to the citizens of Connecticut.
Catherine Abercrombie, D-Meriden, is a State Representative.