Transfer and Mobility: A National View of Pre-Degree Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions. Signature Report 2Reportar como inadecuado

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National Student Clearinghouse

It is widely acknowledged that many postsecondary students no longer follow a traditional path from college entry to degree at a single institution. Increasingly more students attend multiple institutions, transferring once, twice, or even three times before earning a degree. 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. In a step towards improving this situation, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, in partnership with the Indiana University Project on Academic Success, has analyzed student-level enrollment data to report on the transfer behaviors, over five years, of virtually all students who began postsecondary education in the U.S. in fall 2006. This analysis is unique in that it includes both full- and part-time students of all ages, in all institution types--nearly 2.8 million students. It covers changes in each student's institution of enrollment occurring at any time of year, even across sector and state lines, for up to five years. The report describes the number of students who transferred, the institutional destinations of their transfers, and the timing of the movement. And it counts students uniquely, without duplication even when the same student was enrolled in more than one institution at the same time. What emerges is a complex picture in which one-third of all students change institutions at some time before earning a degree, a rate that is consistent across all types of institutions outside of the for-profit sector (where the rate is lower). Slightly more part-time students transferred than full-time students. Of those who transfer: (1) 37 percent transfer in their second year; (2) 22 percent transfer as late as their fourth or fifth years; (3) 25 percent transfer more than once; (4) 27 percent transfer across state lines; and (5) 43 percent transfer into a public two-year college. Appended are: (1) Methodological Notes; (2) Coverage Table; and (3) Results Tables. (Contains 27 figures and 26 tables.)

Descriptors: College Transfer Students, Student Mobility, Enrollment, Transfer Rates (College), Part Time Students, Full Time Students, Reverse Transfer Students, Proprietary Schools, Public Colleges, Private Colleges, Two Year Colleges, In State Students, Out of State Students, Cohort Analysis

National Student Clearinghouse. 2300 Dulles Station Boulevard Suite 300, Herndon, VA 20171. e-mail: service[at]; Web site:

Autor: Hossler, Don; Shapiro, Doug; Dundar, Afet; Ziskin, Mary; Chen, Jin; Zerquera, Desiree; Torres, Vasti


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