Transfer students valued, but…

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Four-year colleges and universities value transfer students, but barriers still exist.

College admissions offices at four-year institutions value transfer students when it comes to meeting recruitment and enrollment goals. That’s according to the 2017 State of College Admission, an annual report from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

Of the respondents to NACAC’s Admission Trends Survey, more than two-thirds indicated that transfer students are “considerably important” to meeting overall recruitment goals. These institutions are still accepting slightly more first-time freshmen than transfer students (66 percent compared to 62 percent). However, the “yield” for transfer students is higher, according to the report. About 28 percent of those selected first-time freshmen ultimately enrolled, but nearly two-thirds of the transfer students who were accepted enrolled.

And what are the top factors admissions offices consider when admitting transfer students? Overall GPA and grades in transferable courses.

But while transfer students are valued, there are still barriers. Not all community college credits transfer to four-year institutions and being admitted to a four-year institution can be a highly competitive, often confusing, process. The September Opening Doors report from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation states that “only 63 percent of selective four-year institutions accept transfer credits from community colleges. This is despite the fact that high-achieving community college students have demonstrated they can succeed at a high level at four-year colleges.”

In California, a September study from the Campaign for College Opportunity found that only 4 percent of students intending to transfer between California Community Colleges and the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) systems do so within two years. By six years, only 38 percent of students transfer. Those who do transfer take longer to complete their bachelor’s degrees (up to seven years for students transferring to CSU). That’s a huge expense for students.

Across the country, though, more community colleges and four-year colleges and universities are partnering to make transfer easier. Nearly daily, it seems, there are announcements about two-year and four-year colleges signing agreements to guarantee admission into a bachelor’s degree program.

This month, Cayuga Community College in New York recently signed a formal agreement with Wells College that will give high-achieving Cayuga students—known as Cayuga Presidential Scholars—guaranteed admission to Wells College. Not only that, these students will receive a President’s Award at Wells worth a minimum of $22,000 annually for up to four years.

“The Presidential Scholars transfer program is a perfect opportunity to provide an accessible, affordable pathway for students to continue their educational pursuits at a nationally recognized four-year institution,” said Cayuga President Brian Durant.

Also this month: In Maryland, Carroll Community College students now can be guaranteed admission into Hood College if they maintain a 2.0 GPA. To ease the transition, students also will be assigned an academic success counselor.

How does your college help ease transfer for students? Sound off at LinkedIn.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.