Transfer nation

May 31, 2016
  • AACRAO Connect
  • Technology and Transfer
  • Transfer and Articulation
Two illustrated figures of color sitting down for what appears to be an interview.

Transfer is no longer the exception to the rule in higher education. Major socioeconomic forces have positioned student transfer as the new normal. College and universities can either be stuck trying to catch up, or they can be visionary, working to understand and leverage these forces in order to better serve students and improve higher education institutions.

According to Stephen Handel, Associate Vice President—Undergraduate Admissions for the University of California System, institutions will need to address some significant issues. These include:

  • Build pipelines.

Four-year institutions will have to more competitively, authentically and effectively reach out to community college students to fill seats. “The same way they’re reaching out to high school students, they’ll need to reach out to community college students,” Handel said.  “Four-year colleges and universities need to be thoughtful and strategic in reaching out to transfer students. They need to make a long-term commitment.”

  • Focus on completion.

Many community colleges must focus on one of their primary missions, which is transfer to a four-year degree. ”Transfer cannot be an afterthought,” Handel said. “The first day a student begins community college, he or she needs to start planning for transfer.” Handel also stressed that “Surveys consistently show that 60 to 80 percent of students who go to community college intend to transfer and earn a B.A.—but most never do.” Both two- and four-year institutions must prioritize and prepare students for this increasingly important transition.

In addition, new technologies promise radical alterations to the ways in which students are admitted, enrolled, and taught; and demographic and economic changes are influencing where Americans will access a college education.

“Transfer isn’t something in the future,” Handel says. “Students attending community colleges who wish to transfer represent an incredibly diverse population that has become the majority in many states.” Community colleges are moving to the forefront as a normal stepping stone to a four-year degree.

Handel will address these and other major factors affecting the transfer process in his plenary presentation at the 2016 AACRAO Technology and Transfer Conference, July 10-12 in Anaheim, California. To secure the early bird rate, register for the conference now.



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