More than two years into the pandemic, community, and four-year colleges and universities across the country face an imperative to help more students earn their two-year degree at a community college and then successfully transfer to a four-year university to continue their education. National data show students from communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic struggle to persist through and realize their higher education aspirations. 

Austin Community College District (ACC) was selected to help identify solutions to this growing problem. Because of the college’s tracked success in closing equity gaps, ACC was chosen among 29 other institutions nationwide to participate in a new pilot program to find solutions that can help institutions across the nation improve transfer success. The college is partnering with Texas State University for the new Transfer Student Success and Equity Intensive — a project founded and funded by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). 

“We need to develop well-defined pathways to help more students meet their educational goals and eliminate excess credits and money spent,” says Renee Esparza, ACC Transfer Resources director. “Students who want to earn college credits before starting at a four-year university get a solid foundation at ACC. As we work together to address transfer challenges, this support will impact direct student services, to achieve these goals.”

The Intensive provides a unique opportunity for community colleges and four-year institutions to come together to develop and implement institution policies and practices that ensure equitable access, retention, and graduation outcomes. 

It is funded with the generous support of Ascendium Education Philanthropy and will span the next year, through October 2022. Teams will receive one-on-one consulting with experts and work to identify, collect, understand, and utilize critical transfer outcomes and equity data. As part of this community of practice, teams will attend monthly sessions focused on co-creating practices and policies to improve transfer student success and equity.

ACC and Texas State will join their peers in this effort, selected from an applicant pool of 97 institutions and 3 systems from 25 states. Together, these cohorts account for a total enrollment of nearly a million undergraduate students, offering the promise of significant impact.

Last year, ACC also announced a partnership with Texas State for the Equity Transfer Initiative (ETI). The ETI is focused on the development of direct student programs and pathways to increase transfer rates for African-American, Hispanic, adult, and first-generation learners.  Learn more here.

For more information about transfer opportunities at ACC, visit