Sunday, December 5, 2021
The RP Group

African American Transfer Tipping Point (AATTP) Study


Project Background

Nearly ⅔ of African Americans who attend college in California begin their postsecondary journey at a community college, yet over 60% wind up leaving without a degree or certificate or without transferring to a university. Decreasing the existing racial inequities in transfer rates is a key strategy for increasing income equality.

In the first phase of our Through the Gate project, results revealed that while African-American students were less likely to make it “near the transfer gate,” among those who did reach this milestone, they were significantly more likely to transfer than their peers. In fact, when compared to White students, African-American students were 2.04 times more likely to transfer than remain near the gate and 1.17 times more likely to transfer than to remain at the gate.

This finding presents an alternative narrative to some common perceptions about academic achievement among African-American students. However, too few African-American students are making it to this point in the first place. Thus, we are seeking to understand the programs, practices, and factors that facilitate or hinder university transfer among African-American community college students.

Research Questions

The African American Transfer Tipping Point project is a 24-month, mixed-methods research study designed to answer two critical sets of research questions:

  1. Where along the academic continuum are we losing the greatest proportions of African-American students who leave without transferring? Conversely, where are the tipping points that signal students’ transition from being unlikely to reach their transfer goal to being significantly more likely to do so?
  2. What are the factors (both academic and non-academic) that contribute to students' likelihood of reaching the tipping point? Which programs and practices are associated with greater persistence to and through the tipping points and, ultimately, the transfer gates?

Project Plan

In the first year of the project, we are conducting a quantitative analysis of student course-taking patterns and unit completion thresholds to identify key transition points in their transfer journey. This analysis will be followed by qualitative assessment (via interviews/focus groups with students and administrators) to identify programs and practices that bolster or hinder transfer outcomes. In year two, we will administer a systemwide survey to African-American students at key points in their academic journey to develop a comprehensive understanding of the many variables influencing their transfer journeys and ultimate success. The results from all these analyses will be summarized in a series of materials, followed by outreach and engagement — developing practical resources to support efforts to improve African-American transfer outcomes.

We have recruited a robust Advisory Committee consisting of a range of transfer leaders working at the campus and system levels, leaders who are committed to equitable student outcomes, individuals with expertise overseeing African-American student programs, researchers with a focus on racial inequities in postsecondary outcomes, and most importantly students who are currently on the transfer journey or have successfully transferred.


Katie Brohawn

Team Members

Darla Cooper, Alyssa Nguyen, Michelle White, Daisy Segovia

Advisory Members




Natalie Aceves

Educational Director, Transfer Center

Norco College

Dr. Arynn Auzout

Partnership Relations Coordinator

CCC Transfer Guarantee Agreement to Historically Black Colleges & Universities

Dr. Antonio Banks

Regional Coordinator

Umoja Community

Dr. Julianna Barnes


Cuyamaca College

Dr. Lisa Cooper Wilkins

Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs

City College of San Francisco

Dr. Keith Curry


Compton College

Audrey Dow

Senior Vice President

Campaign for College Opportunity

Nzingha Dugas

Executive Director

Umoja Community

Sydney Farwell

Transfer Student involved in TTG project

Fresno State

Michelle Fowles

Dean, Institutional Effectiveness

LA Valley College

Dr. Frank Harris

Co-Director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) / Professor of postsecondary education

San Diego State University/Center for Organizational Responsibility and Advancement (CORA)

Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez

Executive Director

California Competes

Dr. Aisha Lowe

Vice Chancellor

CCC Chancellor's Office

Dr. Valerie Lundy-Wagner

Assistant Vice Chancellor, Research and Data

CCC Chancellor's Office

Dr. Christopher Nellum

Deputy Director, Research and Policy

Education Trust-West

Ken O'Donnell

Vice Provost, Academic Affairs

CSU Dominguez Hills

Anthony Onwuegbuzia

Transfer student

Compton College Student who transferred to CSU Dominguez Hills

Gerald Richardson III

Student Senate Legislative Affairs Director Reg VI and student in Ventura County CCD

Student Senate

Dr. Wendy Sedlak

Strategy Director

Lumina Foundation

Sabrina Sencil

Director, Research and Equity

Cosumnes River College

Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza

Vice President, Instruction

Skyline College

Dr. Scott Thayer


A2MEND (African American Male Education Network and Development)

Dr. Eric Wada

Academic Senate: C-ID Curriculum Director

Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC)/Los Rios Community College District

Diamund White

Student Senate Legislative Affairs Director Reg III and student at City College of SF

Student Senate

Dr. Luke Wood

Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Education, VP for Student Affairs & Campus Diversity, Co-Director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL)

San Diego State University/Center for Organizational Responsibility and Advancement (CORA)

Helen Young

Project Director

CCC Transfer Guarantee Agreement to Historically Black Colleges & Universities


Lumina Foundation