Spotlight on Innovation: How Kennesaw’s TAG Program is Creating Better Degree Completion Pathways for Transfer Students

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The US Department of Education has awarded multi-million dollar "First in the World" grants to 24 colleges and universities that are innovating to solve critical challenges with access, recruitment, retention, and student success. At AI, we have interviewed each of the recipients to learn more about the projects these institutions are pursuing, how their approaches are unique, and what other colleges and universities can learn from these new efforts.

by Daniel Fusch, Academic Impressions

Transfer student support has seen something of a revolution over the last decade, as colleges have become increasingly aware that transfer students make up over 60% of all American undergraduates enrolled at four-year institutions, and that transfers often arrive without the system of peer support and transitional support services that have been made available to many first-year students. Many institutions, especially state flagships, have put in place robust transfer student support services or, in a few cases, established one-stop transfer student centers on campus.

The one-stop approach for transfers remains rare, however, and it is more often that transfer student support is handled out of one department or office on campus. Bucking this trend is Kennesaw State University, which, with the aid of a $3.2 million First in the World grant, is putting in place the Transfer Advocacy Gateway (TAG), a new program that will bring together an array of campus services to provide a more streamlined pathway to degree completion for transfer students at Kennesaw State.

TAG builds on the past success of Kennesaw State's RRPG program (recruitment, retention, and progression to graduation for Hispanic students) and is guided by Complete College Georgia, the state's degree completion initiative, and by a study the university conducted ("Transforming the Transfer Experience") that made specific recommendations for serving the university's transfer student population. The university estimates that over the four years of the grant, TAG will serve up to 4,000 students.

Jennifer Wade-Berg, assistant professor of human services and campus executive director of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance at Kennesaw State, shared with us some of the details of the project.

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