The Truth is Powerful
Overcoming Transfer Enrollment Declines
During the pandemic, transfer between community colleges and universities shrank by 11.5 percent . These transfer numbers—which reflect the overall enrollment decline at community colleges of 17 percent —are unlikely to rebound without major intervention. And this isn’t just a community college issue: four-year colleges and universities hold a significant stake here. On average, one in five new university students come via community college transfer pathways, many from chronically underserved Black, Latinx and lower-income communities. Faced with the twin challenges of enrollment and equity, university leaders across the country are issuing a charge: fix transfer.
The good news: fixing transfer is entirely within our reach. For instance, we know that 80 percent of new community college students say they want a bachelor’s degree. Yet only 31 percent of entering community college students transfer to a university within six years, which has remained steady for several years. To maintain pre-pandemic numbers of transfer students in the face of a 20 percent community college enrollment decline, we’d need to increase the national transfer rate to 39 percent. With so many students saying they want to attain a bachelor’s degree, we could set our sights even higher. If universities simultaneously increase transfer students’ […]