National Student Clearinghouse Research Center to Quantify How the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts Student Transfer within Higher Ed Over the Next Two Years

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National Student Clearinghouse Research Center to Quantify How the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts Student Transfer within Higher Ed Over the Next Two Years

Ascendium and ECMC Foundation Grants Support Research of Students’ Transfer, Mobility and Progress in the United States

HERNDON, VA(JULY 30, 2020) – The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, with financial grants from Ascendium Education Group and the ECMC Foundation, announced today that the Research Center will launch a new research report series that addresses student transfer, mobility, and progress in near-real-time, to quantify the impact of COVID-19 on higher education in the United States.

The new research series, which will include nine reports extending from Fall 2020 to Summer 2022, will provide rapid response information and context for institutions, policymakers, learners and others seeking to understand how the pandemic is changing higher education, including student success and completion rates.

The Research Center will identify changes in student transfer pathways that are attributable to the pandemic by using historical data as the pre-pandemic baseline and the Clearinghouse’s current enrollment data. By making transfer data and insights accessible online for free, the Research Center will enable schools, institutions, organizations, and policymakers to better adapt and serve students, particularly those from the most vulnerable populations, during the pandemic and beyond.

“The current upheavals in the postsecondary landscape make transferring far more challenging, affecting both the students seeking to transfer and the institutions supporting them,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “The pace of change creates a critical need for real-time data and reliable information, as events upend the plans of students and disrupt the institutions. Education can no longer expect to keep up with today’s tumultuous world while relying on old data. This is why this research will leverage the most current education data available, as reported to the Clearinghouse.”

“Ascendium wants to ensure that learners from low-income backgrounds have equitable opportunities to achieve their postsecondary goals. Many learners transfer between postsecondary institutions, but data show that current transfer policies and practices do not result in equitable outcomes,” said Carolynn Lee, Ascendium’s program officer for the grant. “In the context of COVID-19, Ascendium believes these targeted, timely reports will allow postsecondary leaders and policymakers to make data-driven, equity-focused decisions as they address challenges faced by students in transition.”

“College students face a cloud of uncertainty around many aspects of higher education moving forward. Improving and refining transfer pathways to better meet the needs of students, especially those who have been historically underserved, will be one of the most important issues we address during and after the pandemic,” said Sarah Belnick, Senior Program Director for College Success at ECMC Foundation.

The nine Research Center reports include the following, with dates subject to change:

  • Early Response Report: Oct. 2020, Representing Fall 2020
  • End of Term report: Dec. 2020, Representing Fall 2020
  • Early Response Report: March 2021, Representing Spring 2021
  • End of Term report: May 2021, Representing Spring 2021
  • Special Report: Summer 2021, Representing Academic Year 2020-21
  • Early Response Report: Oct. 2021, Representing Fall 2021
  • End of Term Report: Dec 2021, Representing Fall 2021
  • End of Term report: May 2022, Representing Spring 2022
  • Special Report: Summer 2022

About the National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center is the research arm of the National Student Clearinghouse. The Research Center collaborates with higher education institutions, states, school districts, high schools, and educational organizations as part of a national effort to better inform education leaders and policymakers. Through accurate longitudinal data outcomes reporting, the Research Center enables better educational policy decisions leading to improved student outcomes.

The Research Center currently collects data from more than 3,600 postsecondary institutions, which represent 97 percent of the nation’s postsecondary enrollments in degree-granting institutions, as of 2018. Clearinghouse data track enrollments nationally and are not limited by institutional and state boundaries. To learn more, visit


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