PSU rolls out new programs and services for transfer and returning students
Author: University Communications
Posted: February 6, 2020

Transfer students can expect a smoother journey through college thanks to tailored advising and close collaboration between Oregon community colleges and Portland State University. 

Higher education leaders gathered at Portland State today to celebrate the grand opening of the Transfer and Returning Students Resource Center, a space that gives transfer and returning students a supportive home base to help with the transition to PSU. The center, along with enhanced advisory services, will help pave the way for transfer students.

No other university in Oregon serves more transfer students than PSU. The enhanced services for transfer students — who comprise 60 percent of PSU’s degree-seeking undergraduates — are part of a university-wide initiative known as Students First, which aims to help students persist in college year-to-year and through graduation.

“In recent years, some have begun to question the value of a college degree,” said Steve Percy, interim president of PSU. “We are confident that a college degree remains the best path to a brighter future, especially for students who are historically underserved.

Nearly 44 percent of PSU transfer students begin their education at Portland Community College.

“We’re continuing a tradition of democratizing higher education and creating opportunities for students who otherwise wouldn’t have them,” said Mark Mitsui, president of PCC.

To make the transition to college easier, PSU has hired advisors who will spend at least half of their time on local community college campuses. They will provide students a friendly connection to PSU and field questions about how students can choose classes that will position them for success after they transfer.

“Our success is basically built on a foundation of the success of our community colleges,” said PSU Provost Susan Jeffords. “And we are lucky to have amazing community colleges in Oregon. Our hands are joined in the service of our students.”

It was a six-year journey from Chemeketa Community College to PSU for transfer student Alejandro Espinosa, a McNary High School graduate who worked full-time as a barista while earning his associate’s degree. He stayed in frequent contact with a PSU advisor who visited Chemeketa once or twice a year, and said his guidance kept him on the right track for a transfer into PSU’s International Studies program. 

Students such as Espinosa help staff the front desk at the Transfer and Returning Students Resource Center, and they say it’s personally satisfying to point their confused or anxious peers in the right direction.