The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) has announced the launch of a new, guaranteed admission program called the Bridge to Bachelor’s Degree Program. Under new agreements signed by CCCS and several Colorado universities, new, first-time CCCS students pursuing an Associate degree will receive guaranteed admission and a more affordable, seamless pathway to a four-year university to achieve their Bachelor’s degree.
“Students are our mission, and during these challenging times it has never been more important for us to provide opportunities that allow our institutions to meet students where they are,” Joe Garcia, chancellor of the Colorado Community College System. “Now maybe a time when the smart, strategic choice for many students is to stay closer to home. That is where our 13 colleges and 40 locations across Colorado come in.”
The Bridge to Bachelor’s Degree Program reimagines the college journey for today’s student by conditionally admitting CCCS students to a partner university-without the need to take a college placement test–and strategically placing support systems where students need them most. Participating students will have the support they need to successfully complete both an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree, without having to re-take credits, take additional credits, or take on additional debt. Partner universities will collaborate with community colleges in joint academic counseling, streamline transfer processes through new IT data systems, and engage early and often with students to better support their transition to the university. Some universities, like CU Denver, are doing even more by providing students that transfer to their institution guaranteed scholarships.
“The University of Colorado Denver is thrilled to be a Bridge to Bachelor’s Degree partner, focused on the success of community college students as they build upon their educational journey”, said Dr. Linda Bowman, CU Denver interim vice provost and senior vice chancellor of student success. “Community college graduates excel at CU Denver and we know this partnership is key to not only their future, but ours as well.”
The program will also help the state meet its ambitious goals set forth by Colorado Governor Jared Polis in the recently adopted Roadmap to Containing College Costs & Making College Affordable, which, among other things, calls for strengthening transfer agreements and substantially increasing the number of students transferring and completing a bachelor’s degree.
“We know that when Coloradans have access to affordable higher education they are able to thrive,” said Governor Polis. “We are living through a challenging time and the Bridge to Bachelor’s Degree Program will help open more doors for students. I commend CCCS and universities across the state for their work to provide students with additional opportunities to further their education, for creating a new model that will substantially lower the cost to complete a Bachelor’s degree, and helping guarantee students’ chances of achieving upward social mobility.”
“Our board is extremely proud of the work that has gone into the creation of this much needed program,” said Rollie Heath, chair of the Colorado State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education. “At a time when so many are concerned about the cost of college, the Bridge to the Bachelor’s Degree Program is a great opportunity for individuals who want to pursue a post-secondary education.”
The demand is there. Over eighty percent of all community college students statewide are enrolled at a CCCS College, and approximately 19,000 CCCS students transfer annually to a four-year college or university. CCCS and partner universities are not only looking to boost transfer numbers, they are eager to see a significant increase in the number of students who complete their bachelor’s degree.
“Colorado’s Master Plan for higher education calls for urgent action to increase credential attainment, lower costs, and erase equity gaps – goals the Bridge to Bachelor’s Degree Program will help us achieve” said Dr. Angie Paccione, Colorado Department of Higher Education executive director. “The collaboration and commitment from our higher education institutions will provide transparent and supportive pathways for students to meet their educational goals and increase their opportunity to succeed.”
University Partners: University of Colorado – Denver, Colorado State University – Fort Collins, Colorado Mesa University, Fort Lewis College, Johnson & Wales University, Metropolitan State University, Regis University, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Western Colorado University; and coming on soon are: Adams State, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University-Pueblo and Colorado State University-Global.
About the Colorado Community College System
The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, delivering more than 1,000 programs to over 125,000 students annually through 13 colleges and 40 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Join us in changing the way Colorado goes to college.