While more than three-fourths of community college students plan to transfer to a four-year institution to obtain a bachelor’s degree, only about one-third of them actually do transfer. And students from low-income backgrounds were only half as likely as their peers from higher-income backgrounds to have transferred to a four-year institution after six years.
In Texas, only slightly more than one in four students from a community college transfers to a four-year institution within six years. To improve transfer rates, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board launched the Texas Transfer Grant Pilot Program in fall 2022. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, the pilot offered $5,000 grants to community college students who are academically high-achieving, come from low-income backgrounds, and plan to enroll at Texas public four-year institutions.
Eligible students received emails and hardcopy letters in advance of the start of each semester, informing them of their eligibility and encouraging them to enroll at a Texas public four-year institution for the upcoming semester to receive the grant. The grant offers were intended to reduce financial barriers to transfer and encourage students to consider enrolling at institutions that might otherwise be inaccessible to them. MDRC is evaluating the Texas Transfer Grants pilot program to build evidence regarding its efficacy and to help inform future policy decisions.