DirectConnect

Institution
State
Florida
Academic Level
Associate
Issue Area
Transfer
Program Focus
Community Partnerships / Collective Impact,
Pathway/Pipeline

Overview

Accelerating Hispanic college transfer and degree completion is an intentional part of DirectConnect as is a commitment to practices and policies that produce positive results. DirectConnect at Valencia has enabled more of our Hispanic students to fulfill their college aspirations providing them with a compelling reason to stay the course, graduate from Valencia, and earn a baccalaureate degree at UCF.

Program Description

DirectConnect was introduced in 2006 as a partnership between the University of Central Florida (UCF) and four Central Florida colleges: Valencia College, Brevard and Lake-Sumter State College and Seminole State College. Open to all students, this transfer initiative places emphasis on the student experience, smooth transition from college to the university, shared-use of facilities, and strong academic programs/services. Specifically, DirectConnect students receive preferential and concurrent admission to UCF, which increases student access. Shared advisers, curriculum alignment and a regional approach to programs ensure consistency across institutions, student success in subsequent courses/programs, and smooth transitions. Scholarship dollars are raised at joint philanthropic events. For example, the Johnson Scholarship Foundation offered a challenge grant to support need-based scholarships specifically for DirectConnect students. Further, shared-use facilities at Valencia include the University Center at West Campus and classrooms and common spaces at the Osceola Campus. DirectConnect at Valencia is a fully integrated program that has not separate associated costs or budget. It has proven to be a highly productive, fiscally responsible, and scalable program, withstanding the best and worst budget conditions.

Outcome

Since 2007, 35,643 Valencia graduates have transferred to UCF as part of DirectConnect; 32.0% (11,405) were Hispanic. Valencia Hispanic graduation rates over the last decade have outpaced the rate for all of our students. Valencia’s Hispanic DirectConnect students comprised fully 44.4% of all Hispanic transfer students to UCF in the 2017-18 academic year. 27.6% of undergraduate minority students who started at UCF in 2017-18 were Valencia transfer students. DirectConnect students are persistent. Nearly a quarter of all UCF Bachelor’s graduates are from Valencia College. (23.7% in 2017-18). Hispanic students made up 31.6% of the Valencia transfers who graduated from UCF with bachelor’s degrees. In 2017-18, 39.4% of UCF Bachelor’s graduates were transfer students from DirectConnect partner colleges. Overall, 25.8% of DirectConnect students (from all partner colleges) who completed a UCF bachelor’s degree did so in 2 years; 65.9% completed in 3 years; and 83.9% completed in 4 years. 26% of these graduates were Hispanic, *as compared to 26% from Florida non-partner institutions.

(Source: UCF Florida College System Consortium Partners’ Student Success Feedback Report, Valencia College 2017-18)