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One in four Indiana college students transfers before graduating

One in four Hoosier college students transfers to a different campus or institution at least once, according to the 2018 Transfer and Student Success Report released recently by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

The report also found that about 40% of students who transfer eventually earn a degree, a slight increase over the previous year’s cohort, emphasizing the need to better understand the sometimes complex paths of students through Indiana’s higher education landscape.

“While transferring is a valuable option for students seeking the right college, it is clear we must do more to support them before and after they decide to move to a new school,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “We need to make more students aware of tools like streamlined transfer pathways and the Core Transfer Library, which can accelerate students’ momentum at a new school and ensure they finish with a high-quality credential needed to succeed in the workforce.”

According to the report, about 23,000 college students enrolled at a different campus in 2016, an increase of 15% since 2007. The same time period saw a 25% increase in the annual number of credit hours transferred. Some of the increase in transfer credit can be attributed to a rise in dual credit courses, which count as transfer credits when a high school student begins college or transfers to a new school, even though the individual is not counted as a transfer student.

The report, which focused on students who started college between 2008 and 2010, provides insight into which students transfer, where they go, and how many graduate after transferring. The transfer study supplements the Commission’s annual College Completion Report, which continues to track increases in college completion trends bolstered by financial aid reforms and specific campus supports aimed at keeping students on track to graduate on time.

New Resources to Support Transfer Students

The Commission recently upgraded its online transfer resources for students, now housed at TransferIN.net. The new website is a comprehensive source of information about the transfer process, including guides to dual credit, e-transcripts and veteran transfers. It also provides detailed, course-specific transfer information through the Core Transfer Library, Advanced Placement, Dual Credit and College-level Examination Program databases.

Key Takeaways from the 2018 Transfer Report

  • Compared to non-transfer students, students who transfer within six years of starting college tend to be younger, have lower first-year GPA’s and are less likely to be white. On average, transfer students have brought about one year (25 credit hours) of college credit with them to their new institutions, potentially providing a boost for those seeking a higher-level credential.
  • The likelihood that a transfer student will complete a degree on time depends largely on where they transfer to. Students who move from a two-year to a four-year school are about twice as likely to succeed as students who transfer from a four-year public to a two-year public institution. Transfer pathways—which allow students with a two-year degree to seamlessly transfer to a related four-year program—offer important alternative routes to a degree and provide a slight boost to minority students’ completion rates.
  • About 1 million credit hours are transferred into Indiana’s public colleges every year and the amount of credit hours transferred every year has increased by 25% since 2007. About 40% of graduates at Indiana public colleges earn transfer credit on their way to a degree. These recent increases coincide with the statewide ramp-up of dual credit.

See the 2018 Transfer Report at https://www.in.gov/che/files/2018_Transfer_Report_2-12-18%20FINAL.PDF. Learn more about the Commission’s data reports and Reaching Higher, Delivering Value strategic plan at www.che.in.gov.

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