The University of Nebraska at Kearney and Central Community College are collaborating in a national initiative meant to boost college completion for underrepresented students.

The Equity Transfer Initiative’s (ETI) goal is to reduce the challenges that underprivileged students face when transferring between two-year and four-year institutions. This includes increased financial expenses due to a loss of credits and the extended time needed to complete a degree. In extreme cases, these challenges can become so daunting that students choose to drop out without completing their associate’s or a bachelor’s degree.

Challenges in Earning a College Degree

Data from the National Student Clearinghouse has shown that African-American and Hispanic students do not earn their college credentials at the same rate as white and Asian students. While the latter completed their programs at similar rates (62 and 53.2 percent), Hispanic and African-American students only graduated at rates of 45.8 and 38 percent. 

Discrepancies in college completion have also been noted between age groups. As pointed out by the Hechinger Report, adult students over 25 often must balance work and family obligations, adding extra challenges to an already stressful college experience.

With the ETI in place, low-income Nebraskans struggling to continue their education have an increased opportunity to finish college.

Vice President for Innovation and Instruction at Central Community College, Candace Walton, explained how the ETI could not only assist students in finishing college but advance their careers in fields such as criminal justice and human services. 

“Providing Nebraskans with the opportunity to earn their first 60 credits at Central Community College and second 60 credits at UNK will be a win-win for our community and employers. Our partnership is already working on transfer opportunities in criminal justice and human services. Central Nebraskans will reap the benefits,” she said.