NCC and ESU Only PA Colleges Selected to National Program on Support Transfer Student Success


Northampton Community College (NCC) and East Stroudsburg University (ESU) are continuing their work to improve transfer student success by partnering for the Aspen-AASCU Transfer Student Success and Equity Intensive. The one-year initiative is designed to support partnerships between community colleges and American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) members to further improve existing transfer efforts.

The ESU/NCC team was one of only 30 institutional teams, and the only in Pennsylvania, selected for this national program. The colleges were chosen from a pool of 97 institutions and three systems from 24 states. ESU and NCC will participate alongside other community college and university teams including Indiana University-Purdue/Ivy Tech Community College, Texas State University/Austin Community College, and Cleveland State University/Lorain County Community College.

“ESU is committed to making the transition from a community college to a four-year institution a seamless process for students,” said ESU Interim President Kenneth Long. “The knowledge and support we’ll gain from being a part of the Intensive will only help us identify best practices and make the transfer process better for our students. Our goal is to use this transfer plan to build upon our relationship with our signature partner, NCC, and to also develop stronger relationships with other community colleges in the region. We want community college students working toward their associate degree to know there is a viable pathway, through ESU, to further their education and achieve their career goals.”

“Students and their families look to NCC, and community colleges more broadly, as effective and affordable spring boards to four-year degrees and ultimately successful careers,” said NCC President Mark H. Erickson. “We take our role in that process very seriously knowing we must both provide a rigorous academic experience that prepares our students for future success, and chart a clearly defined and accessible pathway to a bachelor’s degree. That work is the shared focus of our partnership with ESU.”

The cross-institutional team will be a part of a year-long series of strategy and practice-focused workshops based on Aspen’s Transfer Playbook that offers access to one-on-one consulting with experts that support transfer efforts and aid in identifying, collecting, and understanding transfer outcomes and equity data. The goal of The Transfer Intensive is to accelerate transfer reform over the course of the year by enabling the team to develop a transfer strategic plan that better represents and supports the transfer student experience. The Intensive is funded by Ascendium Education Philanthropy.

“The Aspen Institute is incredibly important in the community college realm,” said ESU Interim Provost Margaret Ball. “The Institute has one of the most impressive trainings for rising presidents and a very prestigious award on the theme of student success at the community college level. Personally, I’m very excited that ESU has the opportunity to participate in this program with our friends at Northampton Community College. We will learn a lot and strengthen our practices to best serve our students.”

“Students face enough barriers to degree completion without getting tripped up when they go to transfer. Removing those barriers is what this is all about,” said NCC Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Karen Bearce. “Our participation in the Transfer Student Success and Equity Intensive is a real opportunity for us to build on the framework we have in place to establish best practice in helping our students to not just succeed but thrive as they progress to a four year institution like ESU to complete their degree.”

While ESU submitted the application as the partnership lead, ESU and NCC will be participating in these workshops as a team. Key representatives from both institutions will take part in monthly workshops from March 2022 through February 2023 designed to accelerate transfer reform. The cohort will participate in “Transfer Think Tank” sessions as well as other workshops to address articulation agreements, student success and equity-alignment in transfer advising, long-term goals for transfer success and fostering strong partnerships among institutions.

Earlier this year ESU and NCC announced a new dual transfer partnership to facilitate enhanced and seamless access for NCC students to ESU’s upper division undergraduate and graduate programs through 2+2+1 pathways. For more information about The Aspen-AASCU Transfer Student Success and Equity Intensive visit To learn more about ESU’s transfer program, email To learn more about NCC’s transfer program visit, call (610) 861-5346 or email