Erika Lawrence, 24, will graduate from Community College of Philadelphia this spring with high honors and continue on to Temple University for her four-year degree.
It’s a familiar path.
Each year, the largest number of the college’s transfer students — in 2012 it was 38 percent or about 400 students — make the same choice.
“I moved here for CCP,” said Lawrence, a business administration major from Bowling Green, Ky. “I was looking for a program that allowed me to connect to a four-year institution at a low cost.”
Lawrence, who will be the college’s graduation speaker on May 3, is living with her aunt in the Philadelphia area, while she attends school.
She had the opportunity on Tuesday morning to have breakfast with her current college president - interim community college leader Judith Gay — and her new president, Temple’s Neil Theobald, who was the featured speaker at the event. Theobald also is appearing on the cover of the community college’s magazine this spring, copies of which were distributed at the breakfast. In a 15-minute speech, Theobald highlighted the connection between Temple and the community college.
“In short, CCP is invaluable for Temple,” Theobald said.
Of the 38,000 students currently on Temple’s campus, 2,000 came from the community college. That’s one in 19.
In their first year, the students do almost as well as overall transfers, 2012 statistics show. Nearly 80 percent of CCP transfers remained for the second semester at Temple, compared to 83 percent overall. And they received a 2.72 GPA on average their first semester, compared to 2.85 for transfers overall.
CCP transfer students don’t have to pay an application fee to Temple and are eligible for scholarships. The 2,000 students currently on Temple’s campus are receiving $11 million in scholarship funds from Temple, Theobald noted.
Getting that additional money is important to students as concern about debt continues to mount. Theobald told the story of one of his son’s friends who left law school $150,000 in debt.
“He met the young lady of his dreams,” Theobald said. “...She decided she didn’t want to get into a relationship with someone who had $150,000 in debt and without likely career options.”
“We encourage those students that CCP is a good option for to take two years and then transfer to Temple,” he said. Taking two years at community college followed by two at Temple “is a vital tool they have in holding down their cost of attendance.”
For Lawrence, the price was right. She said she also chose Temple because she wanted a school that emphasized global connections. She hopes to one day travel the world and promote products globally.
“With the study abroad opportunities and with the Temple name being known around the world,” she said, “I think it was definitely a good fit for me and what I was trying to accomplish.”