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CU Guaranteed aims to boost four-year degrees

Transfer program promises admission to eligible community college students

By Jay Dedrick

Photos by Cathy Beuten
Leaders announcing CU Guaranteed on Tuesday, from left: CU President Bruce D. Benson, CU Regent Stephen Ludwig and Colorado Community College System President Nancy McCallin.

With what leaders say is the first transfer program of its kind in the country, the University of Colorado will guarantee admission for eligible community college students to any arts and sciences program at the Boulder, Colorado Springs and Denver campuses.

CU Guaranteed policy

CU Guaranteed's requirements for community college students seeking transfer to CU (College of Arts and Sciences at CU-Boulder, College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at UCCS or College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UC Denver):
  • High school diploma or GED
  • 30 semester hours of transferable Colorado Community College course work, with a GPA of 2.7 or higher
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher for all college course work, with consistent or improving grades
  • Completion of Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS)Completion of admissions application and submission of all required documents by published deadlines
As stated in Regent Law (article 7.C.), "The university reserves the right to deny admission or readmission to applicants whose total credentials reflect an inability to assume those obligations of performance and behavior deemed essential by the university and relevant to any of its lawful missions, processes and functions as an educational institution."

CU Guaranteed, a program announced Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the downtown Denver campus, takes effect with the spring 2011 semester. At Tuesday's news conference, CU President Bruce D. Benson said the new practice will help increase the number of four-year degrees awarded in the state and improve efficiency by enabling transfer students to earn degrees more quickly than they would have in the past.

"This agreement will enhance our strong partnerships with Colorado's community colleges and will allow thousands of transfer students to take advantage of programs at our research universities," Benson said. "It will also help us meet state and national goals of increasing the number of individuals with college degrees, which is critical to our economic health and competitiveness."

To qualify, students must have earned 30 semester hours of transferable course work – the first year of community college curriculum – with a grade-point average of at least 2.7. Most guaranteed admissions programs require the completion of an associate's degree, typically 60 semester hours.

Benson credited Regent Stephen Ludwig with spearheading the effort at CU. Ludwig, a graduate of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, began his college career at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs and Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif.

"When community college students are balancing the demands of work, family and school, they need a light at the end of the tunnel," Ludwig said. "This program can be that light. I am thrilled about this."
Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community Colleges System (CCCS), said CU Guaranteed represents a "tremendous opportunity" for the 135,000 students attending the system's 13 community colleges. She noted that 44 percent of community college students intend to transfer at some point.

In 2009, students who transferred from two-year institutions in Colorado accounted for 6 percent of new undergraduates at CU-Boulder, 23 percent at UCCS and 21 percent at UC Denver.

"We are excited about this wonderful opportunity for CCCS students who have met the transfer benchmarks and elect to transfer to CU," McCallin said. "I thank CU's leadership for implementing the program."

Kathleen Bollard, associate vice president and chief academic affairs officer, said the new policy will benefit community college students as well as CU.

"As a faculty member, I've found transfer students to be well-prepared, motivated and intellectually engaged, and I hope the new criteria will make it easier for more to choose to study at a CU campus," she said.

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