The Students Empowered Educated Determined (SEED) program was started in 2012 to support Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) Scholars to successfully transfer to a four-year college and complete a bachelor’s degree. With over 90% of DSF Scholars who start at community colleges indicating they want a bachelor’s degree, DSF pioneered a program to directly address this challenge with our largest community college partner, the Community College of Denver (CCD).
This program directly addresses the biggest obstacles researchers have identified for community college students seeking to obtain a bachelor’s degree. The biggest of these obstacles is lost college credits during the transfer process. The greater the credit loss, the less likely the student will earn a bachelor’s degree. Students who managed to have almost all credits transfer are 2.5 times more likely to earn a four-year degree than their peers. More often than not, the transfer process is complicated and unclear. Students face this additional barrier to transfer where there is a lack of access to information or strong advising on transfer pathways and processes.
With the rising cost of tuition, many students seeking a bachelor’s degree first enroll at community colleges. Historically, the odds of successfully transferring to a four-year college and earning a bachelor’s degree are low: nationally only 21% of community college students will earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of entering a community college, and when looking specifically at lower-income students the completion rate decreases to 10%.
Since its inception, the SEED Program has supported a group of 281DSF Scholars enrolled at CCD who wish to transfer to a four-year degree program, with additional support for students transferring to Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU) or the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver). SEED participants, working with DSF advisors, receive one-on-one counseling sessions to ensure that Scholars:
- Begin working with a transfer advisor from the four-year school as early as possible
- Complete their CCD courses on time
- Take CCD courses that transfer to a four-year institution
- Successfully complete the transfer application process
- Develop and follow a customized Graduation Plan
- Are connected to an Early Alert system activated when a Scholar begins to struggle
- Are provided with Pre- and Post-Transfer Support from MSU Denver and CU Denver transfer specialists and waived transfer fees
SEED Program Results
The results are amazing and proof positive that the combination of support services, scholarship support and college commitment lead to significant, measurable results for our students.
- The SEED Program continues to boost overall persistence and completion rates of DSF Scholars at CCD to an institutional high of 73.5%, with SEED DSF Scholars specifically at an 87.8% success rate.
- 85% of participants who transfer are on track to complete a bachelor’s degree within 5 years, and 93% are on track to graduate within 6 years.
- 95% of SEED transfer students, who now hold bachelor’s degrees, finished CCD degrees beforehand.
- This compares to a national rate of 41% of transfer students finishing community college credentials.
- Since the onset of the program, 143 SEED students have completed a degree at CCD, and 74 have completed a bachelor’s degree
- The SEED program is a primary example of effective, outcome-oriented DSF college success efforts. Best practices established through this program have been replicated by other programs, including the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative.