Op-Ed writers Joshua Wyner and Davis Jenkins correctly observe that too few community-college students are able to transfer to institutions to earn their bachelor’s degrees [“Chart a course from two- to four-year colleges,” Opinion, June 2]. However they incorrectly identify the transfer problem as administrative obstacles to transfer students.
They also neglect mentioning that the University of Washington has done extremely well by its own transfer students. We have exceeded our assigned share of transfer students almost every year for the past two decades — our five- and six-year graduation rates are higher for transfer students than the four-year students. And the UW has also cooperated in forming the “Major Ready Pathways” and other programs to increase access. Finally, the UW admits more transfer students than any other university in the state.
Nevertheless, no administrative changes can increase the numbers of community-college students transferring to state four-year schools because there is no room for them. Washington state has among the best access to community colleges in the nation and among the worst access to baccalaureate institutions. The UW has attempted to meet demand by growing its student body about 16 percent in the past decade, while its state financial support fell by 40 percent.
One could, in principle, require admitting even more transfer students. However, this would not create a single additional bachelor’s degree. If the goal is to generate more bachelor’s degrees, then the state should invest in the four-year institutions.
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Prof. John D. Sahr, Seattle, UW Department of Electrical Engineering