Drexel to Offer Tuition Discount to Community College Transfer Students

A new program called Drexel Promise will begin in 2023 and offer a 50 percent tuition discount to Pennsylvania and New Jersey community college graduates.
Students walk along Korman Walkway

Students stroll along Korman Walkway on Drexel University's campus. 

Every year, hundreds of highly motivated community college students transfer their credits to Drexel University, but there’s never been a better time to become a Dragon. The Enrollment Management team at Drexel just announced a new initiative to improve the access and affordability of a Drexel degree.

Starting in fall 2023, graduates with associate degrees from accredited Pennsylvania and New Jersey community colleges can apply for a 50 percent tuition discount under a new program called Drexel Promise. 

Drexel Promise expands on Drexel’s friendly transfer admissions process and supportive financial aid to reach students — “especially those in our backyard” — who are academically qualified, but who may need additional support to pursue their academic goals, said Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management Evelyn Thimba. Drexel enrolls about 650 transfer students each year. 

The program is inspired by Drexel’s Liberty Scholars Program, which began a decade ago offering full scholarships to local high school graduates who may not otherwise have had a route to college. The Drexel Promise program aims to create a similar cohort of ambitious students coming from community colleges, said Thimba. 

“Given that these students have made an important decision to start their post-secondary academic career at community colleges, we want to make sure that our institution supports them,” said Thimba. 

Only about 20 percent of community college students graduate, and about 31 percent transfer to a four-year college. Of those who transfer, less than half complete a bachelor’s degree within six years.

Thimba believes that with Drexel Promise support and by following their prescribed plan of study, students can earn their degrees within three to four years.

Drexel Promise students will receive the same on-boarding and college experience support that first-year students receive, including help understanding how their semester credits transfer into Drexel’s quarter credits. 

“It certainly is a financial commitment, but it is also a commitment to offer holistic academic and personal support to ensure retention and persistence through graduation,” said Thimba. 

Drexel has matriculation agreements with five community colleges in Pennsylvania to provide seamless transitions for transfer students and encourage them to complete their associate degree and invest further in their future at Drexel. 

“Enrollment at community colleges has dropped over the last few years and this decline has accelerated in the COVID years,” Thimba said. “We feel that in partnership with community colleges, we are providing a seamless path for students to earn their bachelor’s degree.” 

With the Drexel Promise, these students’ higher education ambitions become more financially attainable. “We’re excited to be able to make this commitment to transfer students that I think really aligns with our ethos and our mission to be able to provide access to a college education that is, like A.J. Drexel said, not only good, but good for something,” Thimba said. “In this case, we’re going to make sure we’re removing a financial barrier that has kept transfer students away from our doors.” 

Many students who enroll at community colleges are first-generation college attendees, often from underserved communities. Community college student demographics are also changing to include more adult learners, Thimba said.

“Transfer students play a key role in adding to the diverse fabric of our institution,” Thimba said. “They bring different experiences and ideas to the classroom. It feels like a win-win for everyone, but at the core it gets to who Drexel is, as an institution that’s in the service of the public mission.” 

To use the Drexel Promise tuition discount, students apply to their chosen program through the Common Application or Drexel’s application. Once an eligible student has been accepted, they are automatically considered for Drexel Promise support.

To learn more about the Drexel Promise program, visit here.