Reverse Transfer: A National View of Student Mobility from Four-Year to Two-Year Institutions. SignatureTM Report 3Report as inadecuate

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National Student Clearinghouse

In its second Signature Report[TM], Transfer and Mobility: A National View of Pre-Degree Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions (Hossler et al., 2012), the National Student Clearinghouse[R] Research Center[TM] found that one-third of all first-time students who began at a four-year institution transferred to or enrolled at a different institution at least once within five years after their initial enrollment and that more than half of those students went to a two-year institution. This new, third report in the series, Reverse Transfer: A National View of Student Mobility from Four-Year to Two-Year Institutions, explores in more detail this latter group of students, those who went from four-year to two-year institutions, focusing on reverse transfer behavior among first-time-in-college students who entered four-year colleges and universities in fall 2005 and following their college enrollments for six years through the summer of 2011. Drawn from data housed at the National Student Clearinghouse, the report examines: (1) The prevalence of reverse transfer nationwide, with contextual information on summer session course taking behavior, broken out by initial enrollment intensity, control of institution of origin, and timing of first enrollment in the two-year sector; (2) Subsequent enrollment outcomes following reverse transfer by students' length of enrollment in the two-year sector, enrollment intensity during the first term at a two-year institution, and control of institution of origin; (3) Student pathways and completion at institution of origin; and (4) Six-year outcomes for all reverse transfer students by length of enrollment in the two-year sector for students who returned to their institution of origin, disaggregated by control type of institution of origin. The findings presented in this report show that within six years, 14.4 percent of the first-time students who started at a four-year institution in the fall of 2005 subsequently enrolled at a two-year institution outside of summer months or reverse transferred and an additional 5.4 percent enrolled at a two-year institution for summer courses only. The reverse transfer rate was higher among part-time students (16.4 percent) compared to students who initially enrolled full time (13.1 percent) and was also higher among those who started at a public four-year institution (15.8 percent) than among those who initially enrolled at a private nonprofit four-year institution (11.4 percent) or a private for-profit four-year institution (10.8 percent). Appended are: (1) Methodological Notes; (2) Coverage Table; and (3) Results Tables. (Contains 18 figures and 29 tables.

Descriptors: Reverse Transfer Students, Student Mobility, Transfer Rates (College), Incidence, Two Year Colleges, Public Colleges, Private Colleges, Proprietary Schools, Enrollment, Graduation, Part Time Students, Full Time Students, Summer Schools, Cohort Analysis

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

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


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