The Santa Barbara Foundation recently granted $75,000 to the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College to create a new Express to Transfer Program that would hasten students’ transition between SBCC and four-year universities.

The grant will allow students to access priority registration for certain required classes as well as intensive counseling from faculty, provided the student signs a contract to ensure their progress in the curriculum. The program will use the funds to help build its infrastructure by purchasing electronic educational plans and establishing databases to monitor student progress.

Vanessa Patterson, executive director of the Foundation for SBCC, said the new program will help SBCC graduates hit the ground running wherever they choose to transfer.

“Time is really the enemy when it comes to completing a degree or transfer credits,” Patterson said. “What I believe this program is going to do is address one of the two primary obstacles that students face when trying to get through college: time and cost.”

The SBCC’s Express to Success Program, which provides academically at-risk students with comprehensive plans to complete their pre-transfer work in math and English, inspired the ETP’s system to oversee student progress. The ESP has aided over 250 students since it launched last fall and completed its pilot semester with over an 80 percent course pass rate.

Santa Barbara City College acting President and Superintendent Jack Friedlander said students can enroll in ETP and ESP concurrently or separately.

“We always envisioned that the next step would be for [ESP students] to continue in a similar program, once they are at college level, to engage them in their transfer requirements,” Friedlander said. “They are complimentary, but Express to Transfer will be open to all students who sign a contract.”

The U.S. Department of Education also granted SBCC $4 million over five years to increase the number of associate degrees awarded in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. The college will use the funding to extend a similar program to students in disciplines other than science and math.

Jessica Ulloa, a third-year psychology major and transfer student from College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, said ETP or ESP would have significantly aided her during the transfer process.

“When [community college students] are just getting out of high school, it’s good for the school to tell them exactly what they need to complete,” Ulloa said. “You don’t know what to do in community college unless you actively pursue that knowledge, which is why I think it takes so many students three or four years.”

ETP provides additional incentives including financial aid, textbook loans, internships and scholarship opportunities, according to Friedlander.

Patterson said SBCC will begin fundraising this spring to support the program’s growing student enrollment. The annual Campaign for Student Success takes place from March 13 to April 30 and has a $750,000 fundraising goal.