Student Transfer in the News

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Interstate Passport Briefing, Transfer News
This is one of 7 articles in the November 2020 newsletter.

Strapped for students, colleges finally begin to clear transfer logjam

by Jon Marcus, The Hechinger Report, October 9, 2020

The pandemic is already believed to have prompted more students than usual to move from one university or college to another and — like a giant game of musical chairs — portends a flurry of additional transfers when it ends. There are early, concrete signs that this is happening. And policymakers speculate that there will continue to be a higher rate of transfers permanently, now that students have gotten experience with taking college credits from more than one place. Now progress on better serving transfer students nationwide is speeding up. This article features various efforts across the country including Interstate Passport.


Private Colleges Should Take Transfer Seriously

By Mat Marquez, director of North American admissions, Trinity Western University

Inside Higher Ed, October 19, 2020

This no-nonsense article takes private colleges and universities to task on how to be competitive and successful in recruiting and enrolling transfer students, particularly as the number of such students continues to increase. Among the recommendations Marquez makes: transcript evaluation needs to happen quickly; institutions’ websites need to be crystal clear about how students can transfer and credit evaluation; private institutions should use their agility to adapt faster to market changes by innovating and being competitive. “Good enough” will no longer cut it in the semesters to come “because the surging transfer market is about to move right past your campus.”


Progress, and Finger Pointing, on Student Transfer: A Survey

By Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, October 19, 2020

The Transfer Landscape: A Survey of College Officials

Inside Higher Ed surveyed administrators who are involved with transfer policies or practices at two- or four-year colleges to learn how they perceive the transfer landscape. Results of the survey underscore “some of the attitudes and practices that have historically impeded the path for transfer students – and identifies perceptual gaps between administrators at two-year and four-year colleges that could be difficult to overcome.” For example, the majority of administrators at both two-year and four-year colleges “agree that students who transfer from one institution to another perform as well as or better at the receiving institution than do students who began at that institution.”

The survey is available for download here.

Inside Higher Ed will explore the findings of the survey in a WEBCAST on Tuesday, November 17, at 2:00pm ET. Some of the topics to be addressed in the webcast include:

  • How to better support transfer students from the beginning to the end of the transfer process.
  • The benefits of having a more centralized approach to credit evaluation. 
  • New policies being introduced regarding transfer students in light of COVID-19.

Register for the webcast here.


How 2- and 4-year colleges can boost spring enrollment

By Natalie Schwartz, Education Dive, October 14, 2020

In the current environment – college enrollments down, many campuses closed, classes convened online, and the economic impact of the pandemic affecting everyone – predicting enrollment for the spring semester is beyond challenging. Even so, this article provides recommendations on what community colleges and four-year universities can do to attract and enroll students. Community colleges should advertise more and highlight flexible class times and low tuition. Four-year institutions should focus on improving transfer pathways, and be clear about how – and how many – credits will transfer for incoming students.


Will the pandemic lead to more competition for transfer students, or stronger partnerships for the transfer process?

By Madeline St. Amour, Inside Higher Ed, September 25, 2020

Amidst the pandemic, with many students temporarily pausing their education, as well as decreasing high school populations, there is more competition for transfer students. And the key to successfully recruiting those students is to have strong partnerships with other institutions – partnerships that put students first. Community colleges that had such partnerships before the pandemic are fairly confident that they can continue to enroll students and not worry that those students might be “poached” before they complete their programs. To create successful partnerships two- and four-year Institutions need each other. They should align their curricula and involve relevant stakeholders in the transfer process, and work together to keep students on the path to degree completion.


Advancing Equity Post-Pandemic

By Steven Mintz, professor of History, University of Texas at Austin

Blog: Higher Ed Gamma, Inside Higher Ed, September 15, 2020

The author presents six challenges that higher education institutions face around equity: access, non-traditional students, transfer student success, achievement gap, faculty, and teaching. How to improve equity in all of these areas? Mintz offers a number of recommendations and sensible solutions that include owning the problem, collaboration, transparency, and focus – all the while acknowledging the difficulty of effecting institutional change. Nevertheless, students need that change now. Mintz advises institution leaders to “go big or go home.”


Increasing Community College Transfers: Progress and Barriers

By Hans Johnson and Marisol Cuellar Mejia with research support from Sergio Sanchez

Public Policy Institute of California, September 2020

California enrolls the largest number of community college students in the country, and that number is expected to increase in the year ahead. The community college system wants to improve student pathways through community college. This study examines trends in transfer at California institutions, and discusses current reforms and what they may mean for the future.

Among the study’s findings:

  • Transfer rates are higher among students who successfully complete 12 units and take any English or math course within their first three years: 26 percent transfer within four years and 39 percent within six.
  • Transfer rates are higher for students who successfully complete gateway transfer-level math (51 percent within four years) or accumulate 30 or more transferable units (73 percent) in their first year, and for those who earn an Associate Degree for Transfer (50 percent). (Recent reforms have made it possible for more students to successfully complete gateway math and English courses in their first year.)
  • Equity gaps are a big concern. While Latino students represent 51 percent of students who declare a degree/transfer goal, they represent 35 percent of those who transfer within four years; African American students represent 7 and 5 percent, respectively.

“Because community colleges reflect the full diversity of the state’s population, improving outcomes for community college students will go a long way towards improving economic and social mobility.”


Gift Of $100 Million To Help California Community College System Students In Need

The California Community Colleges system, in partnership with the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FoundationCCC), announced that it has received the largest ever gift to such institutions in the nation – $100 million – to help more students complete degrees, transfer to universities and support their basic living expenses. The gift from the Jay Pritzker Foundation, which serves as the official nonprofit auxiliary to California Community Colleges, is recognition of the role community colleges play in educating Californians and preparing them for the workforce. Over a 20-year period the $100 million pledge will help eliminate educational gaps by providing scholarships to students who are well on their way toward completing a certificate or degree at a California community college or transferring to a university. The grant will also provide emergency financial aid to students facing unexpected hardships. In this first year, FoundationCCC will grant up to $150,000 per college.


Faculty play a key role in community college transfer

By Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, September 21, 2020

Jaschik reviews a new study from Educational Researcher that describes the important role of faculty in successful student transfer. Early exposure to faculty is an important indicator of students’ preparation for the upward transfer process. The findings call on baccalaureate institutions “to fully actualize their potential to become proactive and productive partners in serving pre-transfer students.”

The research study is available from Sage Journals

It Matters Long Before: How Early Exposure to Faculty and Advisors at Baccalaureate Institutions Relates to Upward Transfer

By Xueli Wang, Seo Young Lee, Brett Ranon Nachman, Xiwei Zhu

Educational Researcher, American Educational Research Association, September 10, 2020


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