National study shows one-third of college students transfer schools

By Kerry Feltner
On March 5, 2012

According to a report released last month by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, one out of every three college students transfers to another college or university at least once during their four years.

The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) is a trusted source for higher education enrollment and degree verification. Currently, NSC data includes more than 3,400 colleges and 93 percent of U.S. college enrollments. NSC has a near 20-year track record of providing automated student enrollment and degree verifications, according to the report.

UNH receives between 750 and 800 transfer students per year.

"Some students who are from New Hampshire are coming back after being out-of-state," Robert McGann, director of UNH admissions, said. "They just can't justify the expense when they could get the same, if not better, value of their education here at UNH."

The research also highlighted the way universities and colleges have been viewing transfer students and what ways they should revise their model of transfers.

The February report stated, "Standard institution-based reporting tends to ignore these students, however, focusing only on those who enter as first-time freshmen and treating students who do not receive a degree from their first institution as dropouts. This approach is no longer adequate for informing students about their full range of educational options and policymakers about the real prospects for expanding postsecondary attainment, regardless of the institutional pathways students choose. It is also insufficient for institutional practitioners who are concerned with better understanding the origins and destinations of the students who pass through their doors."


Fall of 2011: the breakdown of transfer students coming to UNH:

-Twenty percent from community colleges

-Fourteen percent from another four-year institution in New Hampshire (ex. Keene State, St. Anselm, etc.)

-Seven-and-a-half percent from an out-of-state community college (mostly from Massachusetts schools)

-Fourty percent from an out-of-state four-year institution (ex. Boston University, University of Connecticut, etc.)

-Twelve percent from the Thompson School

-The remaining from UNH-Manchester (about 6.5 percent)


For most students, finances dictate the change in location.

"The economy has been a big driver in the growth of community college enrollment in the past five to six years," McGann said. "Students don't feel comfortable with the expense after a few years. Students need affordability."

In rare occasions, some students will have transferred two or three times before staying at UNH.

In total, 54 percent of UNH transfers come from four-year institutions and 30 percent come from community colleges. Transfer students are generally in their sophomore or junior years and tend to come to UNH with roughly 30 credits, according to McGann.

"Many students realize from talking to friends at UNH that they can have a good experience at UNH," McGann said.

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