Two students smiling in a classroom.

Are you attending community college and eager to pursue a bachelor’s degree after graduation? Then the Community College Transfer Opportunity Program (CCTOP) at NYU can help you achieve your academic goals.

CCTOP provides funding and support for students transferring from one of NYU’s 14 partner schools in the tristate area. “CCTOP is not your typical transfer program,” says Jacqueline (Jacci) Banegas-Abreu, associate director of CCTOP. “We serve post-traditional students. For example, 30 is the average age of the student population. They’re parents, they’re grandparents, they’re veterans, they’re formerly incarcerated people. And they’re all coming to NYU for a better opportunity.”

A student presenting their project, which is made from laser-cut wood.
Who Is Eligible for CCTOP Funding?

Students who are attending or have graduated from one of NYU’s partner schools can apply for a CCTOP scholarship. First, they must be nominated by a faculty member or administrator from their community college. Additionally, they need to have a 3.0 cumulative GPA and at least 60 transferable credits. What’s more, students must have completed at least 30 of the 60 credits at the partner institution.

How Can You Apply for CCTOP Funding?

To apply for funding, students must complete the Common App for transfer students. Then, they’ll need to indicate their school and program of choice on the NYU Supplement, which also requires a personal statement, and specify their interest in the CCTOP scholarship. Next, they must submit their transcripts from high school and college and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Finally, anyone interested in the art or music programs at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development must submit a portfolio or audition tape.

Students painting in a studio space.
What Majors Can CCTOP Scholars Pursue at NYU?

CCTOP scholars can choose from a range of majors at different divisions within NYU. For example, their options include the humanities programs at the College of Arts and Science, the business and marketing programs at the School of Professional Studies, or the education, health, media studies, and art programs at NYU Steinhardt. In addition, they can pursue a more specialized path with the Nursing program at the Rory Meyers College of Nursing, the Social Work program at the Silver School of Social Work, or the Interactive Media Arts program at the Tisch School of the Arts.

Despite the deadlines and application requirements, Banegas-Abreu says CCTOP is more than just an admissions program. It offers comprehensive support, too. “We’re high touch with the students,” says Banegas-Abreu. “They have their academic advisers, but we’re their safety nets to catch them before they fall. For example, we send monthly newsletters to inform them of resources on campus, we host transitional seminars with different offices at NYU, and we offer one-on-one appointments if they need additional support. We also connect them to financial aid. If they can’t contact their adviser, they reach out to us.”

CCTOP from the Student’s Perspective

Ajani Jamieson, Class of 2024

Ajani Jamieson transferred from Borough of Manhattan Community College to the College of Arts and Science in 2020. From day one, he was struck by Banegas-Abreu’s dedication to the CCTOP scholars. “Jacci helped me through times when I felt like I was losing my mind,” says Ajani. “She made me feel seen. As a transfer student, it can be hard to see a space for yourself on campus. Through one-on-one conversations with Jacci, I came to understand that I do belong here at NYU. I checked in with her on a monthly basis. She connected me to other resources at NYU and pointed me in the direction I needed to go.”

As an Africana Studies major, Ajani is learning about the history of his ancestors and developing a more comprehensive outlook on the world. After graduation, he plans to attend law school. With the funding and support from CCTOP, he’s working hard to achieve his academic goals. While it hasn’t always been easy—COVID-19 loomed overhead when he started at NYU—he has found the community of passionate, driven people he was searching for. That, Ajani says, is his favorite part about NYU.

“I’m grateful that I get to share my time with so many diverse people,” he concludes. “I’ve had to let go of this timeline in my head and humble myself. I’m an older student, you know? I’m learning from people who are 19, 20, and 21 years old. And I’m also learning from my professors, and I’m learning from people my own age. The conversations are inspiring, and the people are so passionate. I feed off it.”

CCTOP scholar Freddy Sanchez wearing an NYU Violet sweatshirt and purple Yankees baseball cap.
Freddy Sanchez, Class of 2024

Social Work major Freddy Sanchez learned about CCTOP from his mentor at Bronx Community College. In the fall of 2022, he transferred to the Silver School of Social Work at NYU. The transfer process was smooth, he says, thanks to the orientation Banegas-Abreu and her team built for CCTOP scholars.

“The orientation helped ease us onto campus,” explains Freddy. “CCTOP scholars are from the city. We know where NYU is, and we know how to get there. So the hard part is finding the buildings and figuring out where your classes are. Overall, it was a very relaxed and comfortable experience. I got to meet other students like me. Administrators from different schools at NYU came to answer questions. Then, we ended with a guided tour. The CCTOP orientation really set the foundation for meeting people who I now consider my closest friends at NYU.”

In addition, as a CCTOP student, Freddy attended monthly meetings with his fellow CCTOP scholars and scheduled one-on-one meetings with Banegas-Abreu for more targeted support. What’s more, he participated in outreach efforts at partnered community colleges (including his own) to raise more awareness for CCTOP.

Overall, Freddy is grateful for CCTOP and the opportunities it has afforded him to reach his personal and professional goals. “Without CCTOP, I wouldn’t be here,” he says. “I’m blessed that I get to live in lower Manhattan and go to one of the best schools in the country.” After completing his bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Freddy hopes to pursue a Master of Social Work at NYU.

CCTOP scholar Kimberly Zambrana smiling in a car.
Kimberly Zambrano, Class of 2022

With an interest in child therapy and a passion for art, Kimberly Zambrano transferred to NYU in 2020 after earning her associate’s degree at Nassau Community College. When she learned about CCTOP from her counselor, she immediately applied. The transfer process, she says, was smooth because of the leadership. “Jacci is phenomenal as the CCTOP leader,” says Kimberly. “She does a great job guiding everyone through the transfer process. I was nervous to go to a new place with new students, but I knew NYU was the place I needed to be to reach my fullest potential.”

Kimberly graduated in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology and a minor in Economics. She currently works as a family coach for EAC Network, a nonprofit social service agency. In her spare time, she showcases her artwork in local exhibitions. Reflecting on her time at NYU, Kimberly fondly remembers programs like Swipe It Forward, in which meal plan members donate meal swipes, and clubs like GlamourGals, which helps prevent loneliness among older adults. Overall, her NYU experience pushed her to think outside the box and pursue her passions.

“I commuted from Long Island to NYU every day,” recalls Kimberly. “But it was worth it. I learned how to balance the hustle between my hobbies and school, and I started creating more art and displaying my work. What’s more, I learned how to make the most of what I had, especially during COVID-19. For example, I took advantage of the tools we were given and connected with professors and organizations on campus. My experience at NYU made me more proactive and excited to push through boundaries to achieve more.”

In the future Kimberly hopes to pursue a master’s degree in Clinical Art Therapy and Counseling. She also hopes to build an art brand for children, authoring books on topics like nutrition and mental health.