Transfer Success by Strategic Design

This week is National Transfer Student Week, providing an opportunity to celebrate the many students who begin at LCCC and transfer to a four-year institution.  As the community’s college, the educational goals of our students are as diverse as the communities of Northeast Ohio we serve and we understand that many students have aspirations for bachelor’s degrees and beyond. Some of our students begin at LCCC already with a firm plan to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree or higher, while many others decide to continue on for a four-year degree after they find their passion in an associate degree program at LCCC. However their baccalaureate plans take shape, the fact is that 25 percent of our students will transfer to a four-year institution, and LCCC has programs to make it possible to reach their goals quickly and affordably.

To best serve the needs of our students and the community, in 2018 LCCC took the bold step to become one of the first community colleges in Ohio to offer an applied bachelor’s degree. LCCC students can now earn an applied bachelor’s degree in microelectronic manufacturing (MEMS) – the only bachelor’s degree program of its kind in Ohio – right here from their community college. This degree is even more remarkable when you factor in earn-and-learn opportunities, including paid internships that offset the already low cost of the program. It’s my vision that this the MEMS degree is the first of many applied bachelor’s degrees to be offered by LCCC. (Read more about why community colleges should be offering applied bachelor’s degrees in this piece by Education Dive.)

The groundbreaking venture into applied bachelor’s degrees follows LCCC’s long-time trajectory of connecting Northeast Ohio with bachelor’s degrees. In 1995, LCCC was the first community college in Ohio to offer a University Partnership. This revolutionary program has grown to include more than 50 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs from 14 Ohio universities – all available right here in Lorain County and for a fraction of the cost.

Graduates celebrate following the LCCC graduation ceremony.
The 2019 LCCC Commencement ceremony included 353 students earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees through LCCC’s University Partnership.

For students who prefer to transfer and attend a four-year university on their main campuses, advisors and LCCC’s transfer center help students connect the dots for a streamlined transfer experience. Additionally, LCCC is continually developing enhanced transfer experiences, such as the new UP Express CSU program, which makes transferring to Cleveland State University’s downtown campus even easier for LCCC students.

Each of these transfer and baccalaureate programs and options directly align with LCCC’s new strategic plan Impact 2025, which includes the future-focused priority of efficient and affordable transfer opportunities. These options happen concurrently with the many student resources and support services available at the college that help students overcome barriers.

The results of these multi-targeted transfer and support efforts are clear: students who begin at LCCC and then transfer to a four-year institution earn bachelor’s degrees at a higher rate than students who attend a university straight from high school. In fact, 43 percent of students who begin at LCCC and transfer to a four-year institution earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of taking their first LCCC class, and another 30 percent or more will earn their bachelor’s degree over time. The rate of bachelor’s degree attainment is even higher for LCCC students who begin taking college classes in high school through LCCC’s College Credit Plus program; 62 percent of students who take LCCC’s CCP courses earn their bachelor’s degree within six years of graduating high school.

This data is impressive, but the real story is found within the students who make these numbers possible. Students like Alexandra Moen, who grew up across the street from LCCC but didn’t plan to attend here until she realized the overwhelming cost of going away to college. She instead looked close to home and found her community college. At LCCC, she found her passion for improving her community, serving as president of LCCC’s Student Senate. Alex earned two associate degrees from LCCC before earning a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Cleveland State University through LCCC’s University Partnership in June 2019.  Today, she’s using her skills in a full-time role at United Way of Greater Lorain County. Learn more about Alex.

Alex Moen wears her graduation cap and gown, holding two degree covers.
Alex Moen shows off her degrees from LCCC and Cleveland State University.

For Allyssa Earl, LCCC’s SAIL (Students Accelerating in Learning) program served as a springboard to her success. Allyssa began taking classes at the LCCC Lorain Center because she could walk to the campus from her Lorain home. When she learned about SAIL, she jumped at the chance for additional support and resources for her education. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cleveland State University through LCCC’s University Partnership in May 2019. Learn more about Allyssa.

Allyssa Earl stands in the library between shelves of books.
Allyssa Earl earned a bachelor’s degree through LCCC’s University Partnership.

It was professors at LCCC who first inspired Nicholas Sutfin to explore the intersections of art and science. He earned an associate degree in universal arts at LCCC before transferring to Cleveland State University and later to Boise State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in geoscience. He continued at Colorado State University, where he earned his master’s degree and then Ph.D. in earth science – fluvial geomorphology in 2016. Sutfin credits LCCC with starting his path of self-discovery.  “LCCC can help you determine where you go, instead of just ending up somewhere,” he said. Learn more about Nicholas.

Nicholas Sutfin stands among green trees in the LCCC courtyard.
Nicholas Sutfin earned his first degree at LCCC. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in earth science.

For our top students who transfer to elite colleges, their success is even more prominent. A report by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation recently found that 75 percent of students to who begin at a community college and transfer to an elite university complete their bachelor’s degree within six years. I’m willing to bet that 2019 LCCC graduate Eleana Cintron will be among those who bolster those statistics. Cintron completed the Lorain County Early College High School program in May and during her four years of high school on the LCCC campus, she racked up honors such as being the youngest intern hired at Cleveland’s NASA Glenn Research Center. She was also awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, which will fund her education as she works toward a bachelor’s degree from the prestigious Case Western Reserve University. Learn more about Eleana.

Eleana stands in front of a white board.
LCCC graduate Eleana Cintron will attend Case Western Reserve University in the fall.

For our LCCC students who are just beginning their transfer journey, I have every confidence they will continue their success – and their community college will be here to support them each step of the way.

Did you get your start at LCCC before transferring to a four-year institution? I want to hear your story! Find me on Twitter or email me at