BOAZ—A nearly 30-year-old law that provides for seamless transfer from Alabama’s community colleges to the state’s four-year public universities set the groundwork for community college alumni, such as Alabama Representative Brock Colvin, to achieve their bachelor’s degree.
Colvin was among dozens of residents who joined state community college and university leaders, students and families to celebrate transfer success during a news conference on Tuesday, June 27, at Snead State Community College. The event is one of many this year to celebrate the Alabama Community College System’s 60th anniversary.
Alabama residents who transfer from two-year community colleges to four-year colleges and universities do so through agreements made possible by Act Number 94-202, which established the Alabama Articulation and General Studies Committee to simplify the transfer of course credit between public institutions of higher educations. The committee developed and implemented a statewide general studies and articulation program.
In Fall 2022, more than 40% – or 31,768 – of students attending Alabama’s community colleges were transfer-bound.
Many students choose to start at a community college because of the cost of tuition, which at $125 per credit hour is often less than half the cost of tuition at Alabama’s public four-year colleges and universities. Class sizes at community colleges are generally smaller, and the colleges are positioned regionally to help residents study closer to home.
Colvin said he chose Snead State Community College after graduating high school so he could stay closer to home. He graduated with an associate degree from the college and then transferred to the University of Alabama to earn his bachelor’s degree.
“Snead State’s statement that it is small enough to know your name and large enough to shape your future could not be more accurate,” he said.
“It’s very safe to say that my passion for politics and public service started at Snead State. There’s no doubt that without the foundation of Snead State, I would not have succeeded as much as I have in both my careers.”
Rising Auburn University senior Lexi Marks said the plans for her future changed for the better after the Fast Track Academy Program at Wallace State Community College helped point her toward the right major for a four-year degree. It was because of the Fast Track Academy program that Marks was able to spend her last two years of high school attending classes solely at Wallace State, simultaneously earning high school and college credit.
“The program allowed me to be like any other college student and attend classes to earn credit toward my degree,” she said.
Dr. Don Killingsworth, President of Jacksonville State University (JSU), said two-year colleges are a great foundation for students to start their higher education experience. JSU’s Transfer Prep program, a concurrent enrollment program with community colleges, streamlines transfer for students from Snead State to JSU in the university’s teacher education, criminal justice and forensic investigation programs.
“Community colleges are a great way to start the journey to any career path,” Killingsworth said.
“While workforce development rightly gets a lot of the attention in the current economic climate in Alabama and across the country, academic transfer courses remain a popular option for many of our community college students who want to get a head start on their higher education journey and then move on to a four-year university,” said Boone Kinard, Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Executive Director of External Affairs.
“It is important during our 60th anniversary this year – the Diamond Jubilee – that we draw attention to achievements that show how the ACCS has been and continues to be a leader in higher education and workforce development.”
Alabama’s community and technical colleges were unified as one system May 3, 1963, when legislators laid the groundwork for a unified system of institutions to focus on accessible training in “arts and sciences and in useful skills and trades” for current and future labor needs. Sixty years have passed, but that important cause remains the singular purpose of the Alabama Community College System (ACCS). With 24 community and technical colleges in more than 130 locations and an economic impact of $6.6 billion, the ACCS is Alabama’s gateway to first-class, affordable education and technical training to compete in a constantly evolving workforce. More than 155,000 Alabamians benefit from the various certification, credential, dual enrollment and degree programs ACCS offers alongside leading industry partners. The System includes the Alabama Technology Network, which provides extensive training and service offerings directly to business and industry. ACCS is governed by the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees.