Higher education institutions in Columbus and Franklin are strengthening their partnerships to ensure students have access to affordable education and viable pathways to transfer from Ivy Tech Community College to four-year institutions.

The institutions – Ivy Tech Community College, IUPUC, Purdue Polytechnic, and Franklin College – along with the Community Education Coalition held their first-ever Transfer Conference on October 29 at the Columbus Learning Center to begin discussing the future of transfer options for students in the Columbus, Franklin, Shelbyville, Greensburg, North Vernon, and Seymour areas. Leaders from all four institutions attended with a commitment to building a better regional college transfer system and supporting student success.

“A strong regional college transfer system gives our students an accessible, affordable way to start their path toward a college degree, a better career, and improved quality of life,” said Dr. Suzanne Summers, Ivy Tech Columbus Dean of Arts, Sciences, and Education. “Ivy Tech and our higher education partners at the AirPark Campus and in Franklin have built notable transfer opportunities for our students in recent years. We have a solid start for what can be a substantial regional transfer system.”

Ivy Tech Columbus offers the Start as a Sophomore Program, in which students complete the Indiana College Core (ICC). The 30-hour ICC transfers to all public four-year institutions in the state. Ivy Tech Columbus also offers 13 Transfer as a Junior programs, which provide specific course pathways through Ivy Tech with all credits guaranteed to transfer and be accepted by any public Indiana four-year university. These programs can save students and their families upward of $10,000 by completing their first year or two years at Ivy Tech and then transferring to a four-year college.

Ivy Tech and four-year institutions in the area have also created guaranteed admissions agreements that ensure students with community college degrees in select academic programs can transfer seamlessly into the corresponding program at many four-year institutions. Ivy Tech Columbus has three guaranteed admissions programs with IUPUC – biology, psychology, and criminal justice.

“We have a great opportunity to build an even stronger transfer system that will benefit students throughout this region,” said Dr. Jackie Fischer, Ivy Tech Columbus Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. “With all institutions involved in the planning, I am confident we can increase college accessibility and degree attainment rates throughout our region. It’s so critical to have visible and seamless opportunities available for students.”

When students start their higher education career at Ivy Tech, they are taught by instructors whose credentials match those of their colleagues at four-year institutions. Some instructors serve as faculty members at both Ivy Tech and neighboring four-year institutions, giving students quality education that can transfer seamlessly. Many Ivy Tech instructors also bring real-world experience to the classroom from area industries that can benefit students.

Students at Ivy Tech can earn a certificate, technical certificate, or associate degree. These credentials, in addition to valuable education and training, can prepare students to enter the workforce in some instances while they continue their education at a four-year institution.

“Students who start their education at Ivy Tech often arrive at their transfer institutions with the confidence and collegiate experience they need to succeed,” said Dr. Reinhold Hill, IUPUC Vice Chancellor. “IUPUC supports a robust transfer system to guarantee students have access to affordable education and a well-planned pathway to higher degrees.”

These institutional commitments will strengthen the regional college transfer system while also transforming the AirPark site to accommodate more students. Ivy Tech Columbus is in the process of building Moravec Hall, its new main campus building in Columbus, and the Columbus Learning Center has plans to remodel its first floor to serve as a hub for students at all institutions at the AirPark Campus.

Education leaders plan to continue organizing Transfer Conferences to continue the work of building a Transfer System that serves the Columbus, Franklin, Greensburg, North Vernon, Seymour, and Shelbyville areas. The four institutions are creating cross-institutional work groups to address specific areas that will expand the transfer system.

“Our physical presence will reflect our goal of having a seamless transfer system in which students can begin their education at Ivy Tech, earn credits and credentials, and continue at our partner institutions in Columbus and Franklin,” said Dr. Steven Combs, Ivy Tech Columbus Chancellor. “The first-ever Transfer Conference between institutions has set a foundation for continuing to build our transfer system. I am sincerely grateful to our area four-year institutions for seeing the need to make pathways to a bachelor’s degree more accessible and partnering with Ivy Tech to ensure students have the opportunity to succeed.”