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State Board of Community Colleges, UNC Board of Governors Sign Revised Agreement Improving the Transfer Process

February 25, 2014

RALEIGH – The State Board of Community Colleges and University of North Carolina Board of Governors today signed a revised Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA) between the two public higher education systems, making college transfer options more defined and easier to follow.  The revised agreement, driven by an increased focus on student success and the growing number of N.C. community college students transferring to the state’s public universities, will save students and their families both time and money.  It also will stretch taxpayer-funded dollars by offering students a more direct pathway to career and educational success.

“Our community colleges are built on the idea of taking students from where they are, as far as they can go,” said State Board of Community Colleges Chair, Dr. Linwood Powell. “As increasing numbers of students choose to begin their higher education journey at our community colleges, this agreement continues our legacy of providing hope and opportunity to North Carolinians who walk through our doors.”

“As a former member of the State Board of Community Colleges, building stronger linkages between our two systems has been a personal priority for me,” said UNC Board of Governors Chair Peter Hans.  “This revised agreement will help put a baccalaureate degree within closer reach of students on every North Carolina community college campus.”

For more than 15 years, N.C. community college students planning to transfer to a UNC campus have been guided by a 1997 joint agreement that outlines how course credits transfer between the two systems.  As years passed, general education requirements evolved and students increasingly found that some credits did not count toward their major programs of study, resulting in delays in degree attainment and added costs for students and their families.

Under the revised agreement, community college students will enter transfer pathways with clearly defined goals and an understanding of how earned transfer hours fit into university requirements.  Additionally, the revised agreement:

  • Identifies foundational courses that will transfer to all UNC campuses to meet general education requirements;
  • Improves transfer student success by requiring coursework that helps students map their academic pathway from community colleges to universities; and
  • Encourages community college students to complete an AA or AS degree before transferring to a UNC campus by guaranteeing entry as juniors with full transfer credit.

“Nearly 24,000 students who began their studies at a community college are now undergraduates on a UNC campus, accounting for more than half of all UNC transfer students, observed UNC President Tom Ross.  “By working together, UNC and the NC Community Colleges can continue to grow that number and better meet North Carolina’s future workforce needs.  This revised agreement is an important step forward in streamlining the transfer process and providing opportunities for more North Carolinians to attain a baccalaureate degree.”

“Ensuring the success of this revised articulation agreement will mean we have to be more vigilant, sharing and analyzing data on student success, examining what we can do independently and collaboratively to expand and improve on this agreement,” said NC Community College System President, Dr. Scott Ralls. “Today’s articulation agreement is just another step in North Carolina’s proud history of higher education progress.”

Hundreds of faculty and administrators from North Carolina’s 58 community colleges and 16 UNC campuses weighed in on the design and development of this revised transfer agreement.  The revised CAA will go into effect for new college transfer students in the fall of 2014.  Students currently enrolled in an Associate in Arts (AA) or Associate in Science (AS) program will continue under the existing agreement as long as they remain continuously enrolled.