Editorial: Community college transfers represent what’s right about Wichita State


Courtesy of Wichita State

Wichita State and Butler Community College officials announce the signing of 17 articulation agreements to ease the transfer process for Butler students hoping to earn a bachelor’s degree at WSU.

For the eighth straight year, Wichita State is the top destination for students transferring from Kansas community colleges to public state universities, according to data from the board of regents.

Last month, WSU and Butler Community College signed 17 articulation agreements that will ease the transfer process for Butler students hoping to earn a bachelor’s degree at WSU. The agreements set curriculum paths that count credits from a Butler associate’s degree towards WSU degree programs in four different colleges.

Kansas community college transfers come to WSU with an average GPA higher than 3.15 and more than 45 hours of transfer credit, according to a university release.

These are the kind of students that belong at Wichita State — hard-working, resourceful students who know what they want in a college education. Community college transfers are a big part of WSU’s identity, and that’s a fact that should be celebrated.

Wichita State is a place for students who value higher education because it hasn’t been handed to them. It’s a place for commuter students paying their way through college — for returning adults balancing jobs and families to get a second chance at earning a degree.

Currently, just 12% of WSU students live on campus. That’s compared to 24% of students at Kansas State and 26% of students at the University of Kansas. At a January board of trustees meeting, WSU Vice President for Technology Transfer John Tomblin said the goal is 25%.

WSU has two shiny, new private housing facilities on campus and a plan for aggressively marketing itself to potential students along the I-35 Corridor with generous in-state tuition offerings.

This is an effort not only to “artificially grow” the state of Kansas, as Tomblin put it, but to bring in students who will live on campus for four years.

Wichita State isn’t a traditional college and Wichita isn’t a traditional college town. We should embrace that.

Wichita will never be Lawrence. Wichita will never be Manhattan. We shouldn’t try to fit in that box.

That’s not to say that WSU should stop marketing itself to out-of-state students or give up on creating a strong sense of community for students living on campus. But we shouldn’t lose sight of what makes our student body unique — a high volume of transfers and nontraditional students putting in the work to earn a degree as efficiently as possible.

Wichita State isn’t a cheap version of KU and K-State. WSU lends itself to a different breed of students, and we should be proud of that.

That kind of college student deserves to be invested in, and last month’s articulation agreements with Butler prove that WSU is capable of making that investment. That’s what we need more of.

Shockers are proud, resourceful, and resilient, and community college transfers represent exactly what’s right about this university.