SBCC Acting Superintendent/President Jack Friedlander and Antioch University Santa Barbara President Nancy Leffert met Wednesday to sign the Bridge Program Articulation Agreement, formalizing a unique transfer partnership between the two institutions.
The arrangement will strengthen the existing Bridge Program by allowing SBCC students to obtain 80 transferable units before transferring with guaranteed admission to AUSB.
Leffert said the move will provide students with one more full year of transferable units in comparison to the University of California and California State University systems, ensuring that students obtain affordable access to higher education. It will also allow transfer students to complete a bachelor’s degree in one additional year.
Leffert said students want to know where their pathway is headed, and with guaranteed admission, the Bridge Program can help provide students with the comfort of knowing the direction of their future.
Friedlander said that while the agreement shows significant steps toward a maturing relationship between SBCC and AUSB, it also shows a commitment to providing students with “affordable, viable options.”
Over the years, admissions have grown increasingly more difficult, especially to UC and CSU schools, he said. Through the Bridge Program, SBCC hopes to “ensure we’re doing the best we can for our residents.”
The Bridge Program began in 2007 and ensured students could transfer to Antioch University if they completed the transfer requirements. Friedlander and Leffert said it is the hope of both institutions that in the future a Bridge Program Plus can be created to provide scholarships to students and take more steps to further ensure degree completion during the transfer process.
Already the program is working to ensure the success of transfer students by providing continuous access starting at SBCC. There, students are given access to resources such as counselors and outreach programs to ensure they are taking the right courses to transfer.
In transfer agreements with other universities, students may see changes in requirements with each year. With the Bridge Program, however, students know what is required of them the minute they begin their education. Additionally, the program has provided scholarships to students and assistance with resumes, interviews, cover letters and other professional career information.
Leffert said programs such as these help further ensure the success of each transfer student.
Having recently been voted one of the top 10 community colleges in America, SBCC is seeing a trend toward more universities wanting to establish transfer agreements with the college, according to Friedlander. He said the recognition is good, but nothing reaches the locality Antioch can provide for Santa Barbara residents.
Leffert said the agreement offers Santa Barbara residents a way to obtain an affordable education and stay in Santa Barbara.