Colorado Community College System Partners with HBCUs to Expand Transfer Opportunities

Officials celebrate the Colorado Community College System’s (CCCS) new Bridge to HBCU pathway. Left to right: Dr. Mordecai Brownlee, President of Community College of Aurora (CCA); Lauryn Rowe, CCA student; Joe Garcia, CCCS Chancellor; Dr. Needha M. Boutte-Queen, Acting Provost & Senior Vice-President of Academic Affairs of Texas Southern University; Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail, President of Saint Augustine’s University (SAU); Marbella Alvarenga Cuchillas, SAU student; Dr. Colleen Simpson, President of Front Range Community College; Dr. Angie Paccione, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education; Dr. Ryan Ross, CCCS Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Equity & Inclusion.


April 6, 2023 (Denver, CO) – In a historic partnership, today the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) announced new transfer agreements with Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) and Texas Southern University (TSU)— two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The collaboration will add both HBCUs to CCCS’s signature Bridge to Bachelor’s Degree Program, an initiative launched in 2020 that guarantees new, first-time students admission to participating four-year institutions upon completion of an associate degree.

Officials, students, and staff from the institutions celebrated the partnership at a signing ceremony hosted at the Community College of Aurora. Joe Garcia, chancellor of CCCS, called the agreement “groundbreaking.”

“We are constantly looking for ways to expand options for students and ensure they can live out their college dreams,” said Chancellor Garcia. “We are proud to have TSU and SAU join our roster of transfer destinations and excited to see students take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.”

Through the agreement, SAU and TSU will become the program’s first out-of-state transfer options and provide students a seamless pathway to an HBCU. Although many state colleges and universities are federally designated Hispanic Serving Institutions or Minority Serving Institutions—including seven CCCS colleges—there is no dedicated HBCU in Colorado.



“We are proud to have TSU and SAU join our roster of transfer destinations and excited to see students take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.” – Chancellor Joe Garcia


“I am thrilled to collaborate with Chancellor Joe Garcia and open new pathways for CCCS graduates to access opportunities offered at Saint Augustine’s University,” said Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail, president of SAU. “Through the creation of the SAU HBCU Access Hub at CCCS, our institutions will successfully bridge the geographical access gap and to bring the HBCU experience to Colorado students.”

“Texas Southern University is pleased to partner with the Colorado Community College System in providing pathways for students to continue their education at our esteemed university,” said Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young, president of TSU. “This cooperative effort provides accelerated opportunities for students to earn a bachelor’s degree and ultimately secure the career of their dreams. Together, we will transform lives and foster the next generation of leaders.” 

Through the creation of the SAU HBCU Access Hub at CCCS, our institutions will successfully bridge the geographical access gap and to bring the HBCU experience to Colorado students.”  – Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail, president of SAU







Students may select SAU or TSU as their intended transfer destination starting this fall. Once enrolled, Bridge to Bachelor’s participants receive early advising from their destination college and benefit from additional services, such as academic counseling and financial aid. Students do not have to take specific tests or pay for transfer application fees.

As part of their agreement, SAU will also provide scholarships to CCCS Bridge to Bachelor’s students.

“Our partnership with CCCS will provide students with financial resources to complete their bachelor’s degree, leadership opportunities, and global exposure to ensure career preparation,” said Dr. Leslie Rodriguez-McClellon, SAU senior vice president of student experience. “I am excited to work with the many great faculty and staff of CCCS and look forward to the success of this collaboration.”

Each year, about 20% of CCCS students—or 16,460—transfer to a four-year college or university, saving students an average of $10,000 in tuition costs by starting at a CCCS college. Since Bridge to Bachelor’s launched in June 2020, nearly 6,800 students have registered for the program, and more than 270 are now eligible to transfer to their destination college or university to continue their baccalaureate. 

For more information on the Bridge to Bachelor’s Degree program, visit the CCCS website.


About the Colorado Community College System

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, delivering more than 1,000 programs to over 115,000 students annually through 13 colleges and 35 locations across Colorado. Our open-access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy, and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Join us in changing the way Colorado goes to college. Learn more at

About Saint Augustine’s University

Founded in 1867 by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, the mission of Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) is to sustain a learning community in which students can prepare academically, socially, and spiritually for leadership in a complex, diverse, and rapidly changing world.

About Texas Southern University

Texas Southern University possesses an impressive array of more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and concentrations, a diverse faculty, 80-plus student organizations, and an extensive alumni network comprised of educators, entrepreneurs, public servants, lawyers, pilots, artists, and more, many of whom are change agents on the local, national and international stage. Nestled upon a sprawling 150-acre campus, Texas Southern University is one of the nation’s largest historically black universities.

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