Building New Transfer Pathways for Higher Education

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Amy Smith, Chief Learning Officer at StraighterLine joined the podcast to talk about pathway partnership agreements and new +2 models for higher education students and institutions.

There's something sticky about anacademy program, whereas student starts in Academy, but they think they'restarting at the university they've already identified their Bonde andtheir tether do and they stick it. You're. Listening to enrolment growth,university from helics education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Romant at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to Enroman GrowthUniversity, a proud member of the connect Edu podcast network, I'm EricOlson with helicks education and were here today with Doctor Amy Smith, chieflearning, officerts trader line, amy welcomed the show. Thank you reallyexcited to talk with you today about pathway, partnership agreements and newmodels for higher education. But before we dig in, can you give the listeners alittle bit of background on both Straier line and your role there yeah?So I'm the chief learning officers, straterline and my key function is: Irun the research and Development Labs Division. So we are the tinkerersbehind the scenes. From a student perspective, the student learningexperience in the student voice, so everything we build at straighterlineis student centric. You may all know straighterline from our launch aboutten years ago, we really offer affordable General Ed courses for alltypes of students. I think we've started in two thousand and eight andour business is exist. Its existed for a long time and it's grown amazingly.So we have about a hundred and fifty university and institutional partnersand our gene credits are college. UNDERGRAD credits transfer back toabout twothousand schools, so we're the place where a student will come when heor she may need to pick up a course. Graduate early May need to preparethemselves and get ready to enter into...

...school. Do sometin PREWREX for anadmission requirement or for a thousand and one other reasons on any given year.Last year, for example, we were privileged and honored to support thelearning of forty thousand students. So that's us. It's tratterling, huge, hugefeather in your cap and a wonderful partner for so many institutions. Let'srapid fire through some of the most common use cases that you kind of teasethere to help people understand kind of what these pathway partnershipagreements could look like an when you duse them. So let's say a student comesto your institution: They're, not quite academically, ready for admission.Historically, we may have directed them back to their local community college,but in those cases you could now offer a different kind of transfer pathwaytoward your institution Yep. Exactly so, let's take your student, not quigte,ready, that's a great way to start, so your students not quite ready for amission but, and you want to put them on the right pathway. You want them toget ready and you may send them to a community college now, but you want tomake sure they come back to you right. The ultimate goal is that a studentcompletes and finishes a degree whatever degree or credential they'redeciding to do right their goal, so they may not meet your admissionsrequirements could be testcors math and writing. Skills are not quite wherethey need to be prerequisits are't. There could be financial also right.They're tapping out of financial aid or they're just in a financial place whereto bons, aren't as readily available so on your enrolment team, yourinstitution. What do you do with those students so, instead of terming themaway, you can actually bring them into an academy program. So they get a timeone or two classes to actually prove to you that they're ready to come into theuniversity by being successful in one or two straigh erline classes, theycomplete a course, and then they come right back into the institution. Soit's a really seamless partnership between straightorline and theinstitution, long term. It increases...

...the institutions, conversion rights, ofcourse, so, rather than turning somebody away, you can send. We sendyou, students back and then they're ready. They are. They have beefed uptheir skills, financially they're in a better risk, lower risk or better state,and it's really valuable for an insitution because you're not sendingthem away from you, they're not going to a community college which is whichis a great option by the way. This is just an additional pathway, you'resending them into your own program that you've actually built, so they stayedtethered to you. They identify with you and stairline academy is always withinthat school brand right. It actually looks walks and talks like theinstitutions. So, unlike a community college in some ways, a student forexample, already in is student, stays tethered all the time and they'reintegrated with you. So you always know by partnering with us where that Stuneis what are they up to? How are they doing? Are they accomplishing andachieving? And so one thing we've noticed with our academy partners. IsWe n? We have data that proves the students who come back into theinstitution from going through Academy, do better than folks who came straight. We've learned from Multiple Academypartners over the last couple of years that graduation rates are actuallyhigher. They complete more credits, usually a semester faster where tensionrates are higher, and particularly for first Gen and minority students. We seeabout eight to fourteen point increase in retention, so there's somethingsticky about an academy program, whereas student starts in Academy, butthey think they're, starting at the university they've, already identifiedtheir Bondet and their tethered to Y, and they stick it. So we find readinessis a really great usecase. For example, wlet me pause with that and breath.Thank you Ha Hahnow. I love that usecase and let's talk about similarbenefits from a similar use case, but on the other end of the academicjourney. Let's talk stop out students...

...so for stopouts. Could this pathwaysimilarly be that more affordable next step for those students who are lookingto reengage and restart thei original goal? utwith those similar benefits tat you described yeah. Thank you. It's a great question. So everybodylistening to your podcast right now knows that stuckup populations aresuper challenging right and when you're looking at anywhere, depending on astatistic: Thirty, six to thirty nine million Americans who have some collegeright, but no actual degree or forwork credential, it's a huge massivepopulation. So if you were going to build it inside your institution likereally tackle the stop out challenge and the needs of that population, howwould you do it? What would it look like right so think about that you'dprobably want something low cost. You totally would want something lower riskright. What if you failed and it didn't work and you most likely you'd needmassives to support you' want to help them take the next step, but that isnot easy, like those three things sound, so simple, but they're so hard to Bil,right and and it's the golden knucket. So the thing about straderline iswerlow cost for a hundred and fifty oar a month, you can complete a collegecourse were low risk. There are no loans, no debt, so back to thatfinancial possible need, but Syou can stop at any time. It's a Synchronis,selfpase learning, so you might need to take a break. You literally can call ustake a break pickback up in a month or two there's no risk a the other risk.That's I find fascinating. Is We don't actually penalize you if you don'tcomplete a course, meaning we don't put enough on a transcript? We onlytranscripts to success, so it's okay to try and keep trying that's the beautyof that population and then there's back to that massive student support.That's one of our paarks. We have incredible robust student support. Wecoach, we have twenty four seven tutorink. Do you want to actually gettutored in your algeba class Saturday?...

To Am you can do it? Yeah a studentsupport seven days a week from advisors, writing, centers, live and active andmultiple feedback, multiple submissions on assignments, there's the right classat the right time. There's the self paceness that a student May Neen, butthen there's a village who helps you finish and it takes a village right.Nobody finishes a college predential by him or herself doesn't work that way.We know that well, we've invested heavily. We believe heavily in student,supports that stuff. Really matters tol complete, so it's not only aboutgetting in it's also about getting out by completing and graduating amy. Howoften today is an undecided student starting their educational journey withthis pathway in mind, and would this work as long as they have theirtransfer institution decided on, if not yet their specific major yeah? So it'sit is a substantive percent of the population, so people ere, looking foralternative credit or a pathway into a university we're finding a reallysteady enrolment increase year over year over year month, over month, ofvermonth, right and one thing that we've learned atstraight Awiye again, we have about twohsand institutions, take our creditand we'e built formal relationships true or to, as we would say,articulation agreements right with about a hundred and fifty partners, thevery first phone call when you're talking to an advisor, we actually willcoach. What's your target school, you know you're a straihtoline student, butyou're not really our goal. Is You get to your goal as a student right, superstudent centric? So we always ask: What's Your Target School? Where do youwant to go and what are you looking to get started in or take er feel like youneed it's a really student centric conversation and then we help themcheck with the school. Will the credits be transferred? We never want you totake something that doesn't help you get to your endgoal back into thatuniversity or restart right or bridge yourself back or make sure your sommercredits that you needed to pick up your...

ECON to a one transfer back. So that'ssort of part of the process and our goal is one hundred percent transfer. If yourcredits don't transfer, then we are all not successful and our job is to helpstudents meet their goal. That's what we do. We used cases that we'veprimarily talked about so far in this conversation have been, if then use cases. So if you're notacademically qualified, if you stop out what can I do next? But if you canprognosticate for me and think about five years ten years in the future, ifyou are a student who is entering college and embracing online as yourprimary modality, can you imagine these transfer pathway options might startmaking sense from an affordability alone, Stampoi, not alone the studentsupport as a student's primary option that this is their intentional firsttwo year experience we're actually starting T. thank you. I love thisquestion. That's such a good one, it's hard to Eric good question, we'reseeing that start. So I don't know that I would ever sit back and reflect andthink it's the primary option, but I think it's becoming a parallel option.So, if you're looking for a high quality low risk way that serves avariety of needs and nitches alternative credits such as traiterlineare a great place to start. So to answer you question a short winded way:Yeah it's totally growing, but what I also find is when you, when you serveall of the needs of students, the whole life sycol think about it. We have awhole dual enrollment high school credit population. It's fifteen percentof starterlines population. These are people who are like hey. It couldn'tget into AP geography, so I'll, take it its Tanin line and they're successfuland then there's the just starting colleger wants to dip their towe. Whilethey're working yep, we have the Post High School Grad and we serve them.There's an adult who started college but needed for life reacons to stop forsome reason. So we have bridgebacks and...

...stopouts people who maybe graduatedfrom high school or and or or nonged people, but they're not ready right, sowe get hem ready. So I think the part of the answer to your question isbecause alternative credit like straighterline, we serve so manypopulations. I think it's growing and we're watching it grow. So as morestudents go online in the education market, I think gets more diverse. Withmore providers credentials degrees, it's going to continue to grow for sure.So, let's stay in predictive guest mode, okay in this future state. But let'sshift from the student perspective to the Institutional Perspective and thinkabout your academic friends of which you were formerly Adina. So can youenvision a future in which certain institutions really lean into thismodel and say we think our best way forward, especially in a market withdeclining college age, demographics with increased competition. Our bestway forward might be to be that plus two part of our students degree thatGenetts may not be where we particularly shine, and if our studentscan get their first two years paid off elsewhere for less than five grand andis part to be built in transfer pathway to our institution boy. That feels likea pretty good win, win yeah and it kind. It is right when you think about it, sowe're actually seeing that future in part. So we may, we may nevercompletely arrive at that. You know we'll do the first two years and thento plus two right a post in two years. I think that may futuristically be ablea lot to see. Although everybody of us, you know, everybody's, a parent of kidsabout to go to college. Of course we would love that. But if you're thinkingabout a semester ha year, an a'll fall a summer dual credit or ways to get toarrive ahead, one hundred percent...

...absolutely so I think universities areall about graduation they're, definitely also about less risk andthey're absolutely about much less debt. I mean these are all problems, we'reall trying to solve and everybody's thinking about, but I so I do envisionwhat you're saying and we're seeing it right now we actually have partnerswhere we are our academy that front end is, is a solid part and parcel of whattheir students are going through in their genets they're, takingsubstantive classes and then transferring in so it's good to remember that the Jenedsis a place for universities and institutions. Shing you're, Gol, Hale,fabulous faculty right, you're going to have great course experiences andthat's never going to go away. So I think it's about another opportunity ora different pathway or an additional pathway again back to that parallel. Sowe sort of think straightrline delivers this awesome gened course experiencewere well suited to do it and the nature of our work and our experienceswe're. Never going to replace an upper division, for example back to your plustwo we're never going to replace HA seminar. We do this one good,Asyncronis selfpaced, you know one hundred and two hundred level coursesreally well. This is what we do and yeah there's a place for that. Theredefinitely is, and it's growing for sure, yeah and I'm one of those parentswho who likes thinking about nine years in the future, because that's when mynine year old is Goinna start having to make decisions, and we have alreadystarted talking about our options and it is nice and relieving to thinkthrough. Okay, you can go work at starbucks and take classes at Asu atnight for free with their current employer, partnership and learning moreabout you and your partnerships, boy. You can get your first two years atininstitution like Colorado, state for five grand and then finish your lasttwo two and a half years there. It's been exciting talking to you justseeing how many more and more...

...accessible pathways that hire as awhole starting to create for students. It's super super exciting. It's fun towatch. Isn't it it's a really God time to be in hire ID I've Toud that it'sreally coolr, truly haymy super cratful foryour time? Canyou leave this with any next steps? Advice for institutions, they'rethinking about they're, trying to improve their transfer pathway,specifically for increased student affordability? How should they thinkabout that challenge? How that seems to be the question right? It is actuallyit's totally about student affordability overall higher it needsneeds to worry about that, but it also really means to worry about consistentcollege transfer, more openness and acceptance of just transfer creditsfrom other sources, be it a community college or provider like straighterlinecredit by exam prior learning, assessment, work, force porpolio all ofthose kinds of things if, if higher in institutions could just think aboutwhen a student walks in the door and wants to come, take all of the studentand take all of those credit experiences because they really didlearn if we could just get transparent and smoother with how we transfer thatwould totally benefit a student completely benefit the institution andit's financially more affordable and sustainable. So I think the the lendsof consistency and transferability in credit- that's the next kind of nuggetto really watch for and work on, just my two cents, I'll pay, a dollar forthem, Ame Amo. Thank you so much for your brain, your heart and your timetoday. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you and yourteam if they have any follow up questions, how and O id love tocontinue the conversation right, Chiep learning officers lab divisions, we cangeek out on all kinds of stuff, so easiest places to get a hold of me.I'm a Smith Amy Smith, but a Smith at Straightoirlinecom can always also gothrough our website and try to reach out either. One of those channels willland with me and with our team or...

...anybody else. I can connect with insideof straighterline, always open and happy to talk would love it awesomethanks. So much for joining us today me. Thank you so much eric was such a goodtime. I really appreciate talking about the big stuff. It was great thanks somuch likewise attracting today's new posttraditional learners means adoptingnew enrolmant strategies. helicks educations data driven anterprise wideapproach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges anduniversities thrive in this new education, landscape and Helex has justpublished the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook, with fiftypercent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing enromant growth challenges download it today for free at helocs,Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromantgrowth university from helicks education to ensure that you never missan episode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player.Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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