Published November 21, 2022 by Bowdoin News

Bowdoin College Joins 20 Colleges and Universities Nationwide in Official Launch of the Transfer Scholars Network

Managed by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, TSN connects almost 400 high-achieving community college transfers to the nation’s top four-year institutions
Admissions building

Bowdoin College has partnered with the Transfer Scholars Network (TSN), dedicated to expanding community college transfers to the nation’s highly selective colleges and universities.

Led by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, with support from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, TSN aims to expand the national transfer pipeline to high-graduation-rate, four-year institutions.

To achieve that goal, the Aspen Institute and Cooke Foundation facilitate direct connections between high-achieving community college students and senior admissions representatives at thirteen highly selective colleges and universities in the American Talent Initiative, with which Bowdoin is a partner.

Bowdoin joined TSN in the pilot project phase in January 2021 and has actively sought to recruit and enroll the College’s first cohort of community college students. The new effort has resulted in four current transfer students from community colleges.

As the partnership moves into a new academic year, Bowdoin continues its work in access and equity by creating pathways for community college students to transfer to Bowdoin.

“As an institution that values the experiences of every individual student on our campus, we know that the voices of community college students will enrich the educational experience at Bowdoin,” said Claudia Marroquin, senior vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid.

“In just a few months, our current community college students have made a mark on Bowdoin’s campus and we’re eager to support them as the year progresses. We welcome the newest community college partners and look forward to building on our relationships with the advisors and students at all the TSN partner schools.”

Bowdoin joins partner institutions in providing students in TSN with exclusive webinars and resources, generous financial aid, and ongoing support as they navigate the transfer admissions and financial aid process.

“There is incredible talent within community colleges, including high-achieving students who should, based on their merits, have access and opportunity to take advantage of all that the leading colleges have to offer,” says Tania LaViolet, director at the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.

“We cannot have true equity in higher education if there is not a path for students across the nation to transfer from community colleges to highly selective institutions.”

Students are nominated for TSN based on eligibility criteria that includes demonstrated academic achievement, financial need, holistic life and professional experiences, and transfer readiness.

Once they receive personalized nomination letters, they submit a short application to the TSN portal and are quickly connected with senior admissions leaders at the four-year partners.

After its first full admissions cycle in spring 2022, at least twenty percent of TSN students who applied to four-year partner colleges received offers of admission, outpacing the average admission rate of 15.6 percent at these schools.

Building on the early success of the pilot, the next phase of the Transfer Scholars Network will include increased commitments to full affordability and financial aid for students, feature more partner-led workshops, and provide additional webinars and transfer resources for both students and institutions.

The initiative will also expand to new community colleges and four-year institutions across the country this cycle, forming a growing network devoted to increasing opportunity for more transfer students.


The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program supports colleges and universities in their quest to achieve a higher standard of excellence, delivering credentials that unlock life-changing careers and strengthen our economy, society, and democracy. We know it takes visionary college leaders to achieve this higher standard and we make it our mission to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and research-backed tools to inspire change, shift practice, and advance the capacity of colleges to deliver excellent and equitable student outcomes. For more information, visit the website and follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded more than $250 million in scholarships to nearly 3,200 students from eighth grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive educational advising and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $125 million in grants to organizations that serve such students. Visit the website.

The American Talent Initiative is a Bloomberg Philanthropies-supported collaboration between the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, Ithaka S+R, and more than 130 top colleges and universities nationwide committed to enrolling, supporting, and graduating more than 50,000 talented students from lower-income backgrounds by 2025. To realize this milestone, ATI facilitates practice-sharing, and communications campaigns around presidential leadership, affordability, community college transfer, student success and equity in the academic experience. With this support, members can progress toward aspirational lower-income student enrollment goals and minimize equity-based graduation gaps by 2025. Learn more about ATI.