AACRAO initiates "Transfer Student Success" designation

February 9, 2021
  • 2021 SIGNATURE INITIATIVES
  • Meetings, Workshops, and Trainings
  • AM2021 Transfer
  • annual meeting 2021
  • Coffee Break
  • Transfer
  • Webinars
green canvas sneakers standing on asphalt with multiple white arrows painted in jumbled directions

Student transfer remains a key topic of national research and policy discussions, and is gaining national attention. National Student Clearinghouse Research Center data reveals that nearly 40% of students enrolled in higher education transfer annually. The sheer volume warrants attention to smooth the process, which nationally, is inconsistent. And finally, the continuing pandemic has further widened structural and foundational gaps through which learners facing multiple intersectional inequities fall.

AACRAO is determined to re-envision institutional practices to better serve transfer students. AACRAO's participation in these discussions spans decades and includes providing guidance on transfer student practice and policy for domestic and international students. As a leader in the academic and enrollment services space, our research highlights transfer policy gaps and spotlights successful practices that drive both institutional and learner success.

This year, we are focused especially on the practices surrounding transfer. In addition to recurring research on transfer practice, AACRAO recently joined several related national research initiatives. Further, understanding transfer and articulation is one of our professional proficiencies.

We believe now is the time to develop the set of best practices that will inform requirements for an institutional “transfer student success” designation.

The work of re-envisioning transfer

This month we announced the Transfer Student Success Work Group members, a group that will identify a list of transfer-related policies and practices that indicate an institution is effectively focused on transfer student success. The results of this work group will drive the agenda for our Transfer Practice Summit in July, and will result in a whitepaper and the launch of our institutional designation.

Articles, Coffee Breaks, webinars, and more leading up to the Summit will elevate the transfer conversation amongst our members and partners. This conversation provides opportunities to explore questions and discuss solutions to the myriad of interconnected issues and perspectives that impact the transfer student experience.

Post-summit, we will share our final paper and implement a toolkit for institutions to embed these research-based practices for the betterment of their transfer students.

An underutilized best practice

One underutilized and long -standing best practice in transfer is digital record exchange. AACRAO began leading the U.S. digital transfer conversation with the inception of SPEEDE in the 1970s. Since then, we have seen widening adoption of digital learner records. Most institutions accept some third-party serviced electronic documents, but the majority consume that digital delivery in an analog fashion. The number of institutions sending and engaging in meaningful exchange of learner data electronically remains small.

Now is the time to accelerate change. 

Our fall 2021 Technology Summit focuses on the technology of transfer. AACRAO is determined to remove transfer barriers and speed processes that support student decision-making and advising by supporting institutions in migrating to digital document pathways.

The pandemic forced the majority of the education sector into a remote workforce model, disrupting the largely analog set of processes that surround student transfer. Digital record portability and interoperability has always been a priority in the name of student success, but we find now that it is also a key point of business continuity and institutional success.

Institutions who engage with the digital record ecosphere will find themselves a part of the global movement, led by our close partners in the Groningen Declaration Network (GDN), which envisions that citizens worldwide should be able to electronically consult and share their authentic educational data with whomever they want, whenever they want, wherever they are. As a founding GDN member, AACRAO is eager to help pave the digital highway for U.S. higher education to engage.

Use the form below to join our email list and stay up-to-date as we explore the many avenues of re-envisioning transfer.