On August 31, 2021, the Research Center issued a comprehensive annual report, revealing that American colleges lost nearly 200,000 transfer students in the first full year of the pandemic. Our special journalist’s report, “Bucking the Trend: How Some Institutions Grew Their Transfer Enrollment Amid a Pandemic” offers insights into how some colleges were able to grow their transfer enrollment in 2020-2021 even as numbers were declining nationally.
The 2021 update shows that of those who began postsecondary education at a community college in fall 2014, lower-income students were half as likely as their higher-income peers to have transferred to a four-year institution (24% vs. 40%) and to have attained a bachelor’s degree (10% vs. 21%) within six years of first entry.
This third report on transfer and mobility examines multiple transfer pathways for the cohort of students who started postsecondary education in fall 2011. It analyzes student enrollment patterns across different institutions and across state boundaries, including — for the first time — disaggregations by race and ethnicity.
Key community college metrics are provided for three areas — college access and persistence, transfer and mobility, and certificate and degree completion — which are important indicators of community college progress.
During the 2014-15 academic year, 9.4 percent of all students attended more than one institution, a figure that has remained constant for the last three years. In each year shown, the mobility rate was highest for students who began the academic year at a two-year public institution.
This second report on transfer and mobility, examines multiple transfer pathways for the cohort of students who started postsecondary education in 2008. It reveals how student enrollment patterns that involve multiple movements among two or more institutions and across state boundaries has become the new normal, demonstrating the need for a comprehensive view of student transfer and mobility to inform education policymaking and institutional improvement efforts.
In our third Signature Report, we examine enrollment pathways of reverse transfer students, those who moved from four-year to two-year institutions outside of summer months. Understanding this type of student mobility can help campus policymakers at both two-year and four-year institutions craft policies that will help institutions reach their enrollment goals and better assist students in making decisions about their educational pathways.
In our second Signature Report, we analyze students’ transfer behaviors to better understand their postsecondary pathways. A detailed view of transfer rates is critical in helping institutions and policymakers develop strategies and policies that facilitate successful outcomes.
According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 8% of students attended more than one postsecondary institution in 2010-2011. The most mobile students were those with both full- and part-time statuses, with 17.2% of these students attending more than one institution during a single year.