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The research firm Ithaka S+R on Thursday released a new playbook about how independent colleges can build better transfer pathways for community college students.

Independent colleges are an “oft-overlooked way to increase bachelor’s attainment for community college students,” the playbook says. However, “such institutions often provide flexible degree options, personalized supports, and greater efficiency in credit transfer that can assist community college students looking to complete a four-year degree.”

The playbook was created to aid an effort called Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts, an initiative to create statewide transfer pathways from community colleges to independent colleges in 20 states in the next five years, sponsored by the Teagle and Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. It draws on surveys of state associations and college consortia in six states—Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island—that received grants to build these pathways as a part of the project. The recommendations include ways to garner support among key stakeholders, like faculty members; locate funding; and seek out transfer pathway experts and models for guidance.

“While the report focuses on the experiences of six states engaged in reform, it is a resource that can help four-year colleges and their state associations adopt a strategy for sustaining a strong transfer program in the long term,” Julia Karon, lead author of the playbook and an analyst at Ithaka S+R, said in a press release.