Hey, U: What happened to cooperating with community colleges?

uofm-moveinday

“Our transfer students on balance do not have the same kind of positive experience here as our undergraduates. … We haven’t been quite as selective with transfers as we have been with freshmen.”

University of Minnesota Dean of Undergraduate Education Bob McMaster on why the U is cutting back a little on the number of undergraduates it’ll accept in the future.

Tim Post reported that piece yesterday, and on its face it does seem to make sense. And the new limit will affect only 300 transfers, a small percentage of the overall number. (Transfers will decrease from 35 percent to 33 percent of the student population.)

I’m withholding judgment on the move, but I must say the news seems to come at an odd time.

After all, community colleges received a huge push by the Obama administration last year, with the president calling them the “unsung heroes” of education that help cash-strapped students cut costs.

And many college finance writers and experts are increasingly encouraging bachelor’s-oriented students to ditch the prestige of enrolling at a four-year university and instead start at a two-year college to save money.

Some colleges universities back east are even recruiting more transfer students, saying they’re more mature and often do better than their four-year counterparts.

Finally, Minnesota has been awash in gushing reports that because of a new governor, new MnSCU chancellor and new University of Minnesota president, we have an opportunity for unparalleled cooperation. Both MnSCU’s Steven Rosenstone and the U’s Eric Kaler have said they’re working on ways to cooperate (or “collaborate” as the new buzzword goes).

Now this.

What’s going on?

And how will this new message affect high schoolers’ attitudes when it comes time to make the (often financial) decision of whether to shoot for the U or attend a two-year MnSCU college?