By Eric Lopez
The transfer fair held in the Student Union Sept. 13 gave students the chance to connect with many universities in order to continue their educational journeys.
Thirty-eight schools, including in-state universities as well as many out of state and private universities, were offering discount tuition rates to GCC students.
Visiting admission advisers seemed helpful, concerned and willing to answer questions. The event was geared toward students to allow them to receive direction and advice from university representatives to help them cultivate their futures.
The goal was to ease the anxiety that comes with transferring to more expensive schools.
Many students only know of the state universities that the Maricopa Community Colleges partner with and often overlook the many other universities in the area. Because these pathways are geared toward the big three state universities. Some students fail to explore their options.
Transferring into a university is not always smooth and many students find losing credit to be a disappointment.
The National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization dedicated to degree verification, found that less than half of community college students go on to complete a bachelor’s degree within six years.
For some students this came as a surprise.“I thought all of the credits transferred to ASU,” sophomore Cali Green said.
Many universities at the fair were nationally accredited and dedicated to meeting the needs of interested students.
“Students don’t realize that our tuition is cheaper than most of the other in state schools,” Melinda Velasquez, an admission counselor for Ottawa University, said. Ottawa University charges around $300 per undergraduate credit.
Some students may not realize that there are more and sometimes even cheaper options available when selecting a university and a lot of information students initially receive is confusing. Community colleges often sacrifice time for savings and student misdirection can be the result of a lack of adequate resources, knowledgeable advisers and administrative issues.
While some students are simply seeking a low cost professional degree, many aspire to earn their undergraduate degree. Community college does provide the benefit of a well-rounded education without the high price tag but often limited opportunity. By taking part in a transfer fair, many schools, such as Prescott college, hoped to help students who may have been diverted on their path to a degree.
According to the Government Accountability Office, students lose nearly half of the credits they earn when transferring schools. Because Pell grants and direct loans have a six-year limit, transfer agreements that utilize earned credits are necessary to prevent unneeded debt, and with accelerated plans students should be graduating quicker. Most institutions that were present at the transfer fair were aware of this dilemma. The low costs and flexible course delivery many of the universities offer are especially appealing. They can provide students the opportunity to finish their undergrad degree without incurring a lifetime of debt.