We know Phi Theta Kappa membership matters, and we want as many colleges, administrators, and students to know it too. We continue to personalize and scale our outreach efforts, highlighting the diversity of our members and inclusivity of the organization. We are also working to expand our programs and recognition to better serve groups like student athletes and students enrolled in workforce and career technical programs.
Transfer Success Facts
Community college students have higher graduation rates than students who enrolled in four-year institutions directly from high school or those who transferred from other four-year institutions. After transfer, community college students earn their bachelor’s degrees within two and a half years, on average. Phi Theta Kappa members complete at even higher rates. With 91% of PTK members having success at their community college and 68% continuing on to complete a bachelor’s degree, we know the value of Phi Theta Kappa membership for high-achieving community college students.
This year marked the first-ever comprehensive national study of community college transfer success, Persistence, by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. It confirms what we already know about the success of community college students.
IN THE NATIONAL NEWS
In 2019, USA Today published the story of Phi Theta Kappa member James Elliott, from his darkest days of serving a six-year prison sentence to becoming one of the top 20 community college students in the nation, and then the International President of Phi Theta Kappa, James became one of the first returning citizens to become a PTK member after the Board of Directors changed Phi Theta Kappa’s bylaws to be more inclusive of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated citizens in 2018. His election from among 250,000 of his peers showed the world that Phi Theta Kappa is committed to being as inclusive and diverse as our nation’s community colleges.
When the college admissions scandal broke in 2019, our President and CEO shared her thoughts in Forbes, explaining the impact on community college students. The admissions scandal, at first glance, appeared to be about parents who are willing to do anything for their children, but the truth is that this story was not about their children — it was about the smart and hardworking children from low- and middle-income families who were excluded from the opportunity to pursue their education on an uneven playing field. Community college students are often the first in their families to attend college. They face barriers that make it that much more difficult to get to college and be successful there. The college admissions scandal represented yet another barrier for community college students, like those served by Phi Theta Kappa.
NEW YORK TIMES
A New York Times article published in October 2019 shared a lot of what America likes about its community colleges, and it turned out to be more than just their value. The article recognized the good work of Phi Theta Kappa as a connector of diverse and talented students to four-year colleges and universities.
We are more Social than ever before
Social media continues to be a valuable tool that allows us to speak to and hear from Phi Theta Kappa members, alumni, friends, and partners. Each day, PTK reaches approximately 330,000 people through our social channels. This year, we continued to leverage social media by hosting live events, creating special social media filters, and by issuing social media challenges. These efforts proved to be successful in creating awareness and increasing engagement among our stakeholders.
For the third year, PTK developed a comprehensive awareness campaign and toolkit for chapters to use in their local membership recruitment drives. The overarching theme, “I AM PTK,” demonstrates the diversity of our members, while also showcasing our commitment to inclusivity.
The Instant Benefits of Membership
Phi Theta Kappa’s new membership acceptance process and redesigned website make it easier than ever for students to learn about and access Phi Theta Kappa member benefits. PTK’s competitive scholarships were re-organized by student type — transfer, career-technical, veteran, and dual-credit/enrollment — making it easier for students to learn about and apply for scholarships. When students join PTK, they are immediately connected to scholarship opportunities. As a result, we have seen a dramatic increase in scholarship applications.
This year, we launched a series of graduation stoles recognizing subsets of Phi Theta Kappa members including NURSING and STEM students and STUDENT ATHLETES. We plan to release graduation stoles for more groups in the coming years.
We were especially proud to partner with the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) to create an exclusive stole celebrating their scholar athletes who are also PTK members. The NJCAA™ Honors Stole features both the PTK emblem and the NJCAA seal.
“Student-athletes have to manage time carefully to be the best they can in the classroom and on the field, thus highlighting all avenues of success, especially in the classroom, are just as significant to each individual student-athlete. Partnering with PTK will continue to show students the value of an organization like PTK and how sports and academics together can be so rewarding.”
– Dr. Christopher Parker, NJCAA President and CEO.