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COVID-19: Transfer, Mobility, and Progress Report to Launch Oct. 27

by NSC Blog | Oct 9, 2020 | Clearinghouse News, Research Reports, Research Services, Reverse Transfer

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, with grants from Ascendium Education Group and the ECMC Foundation, will launch on October 27 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.

Recognizing the urgency of COVID-19’s impact on students and institutions, the Research Center will disseminate rapid response information and context to explain how the pandemic is changing transfer pathways across higher education over the next two years. The transfer pathways considered will be defined broadly to include vertical, lateral, and reverse transfer.

Informed by these data, campus, state, and national leaders will be better able to adapt and plan in the months and years ahead to deliver educational opportunities for students they serve, particularly the most vulnerable student populations.

“The current upheavals in the postsecondary landscape are likely to make transferring both more urgent for students and more challenging for 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 our research will use the most current data available, as reported to the Clearinghouse.”

According to the Research Center’s 2020 Persistence and Retention Report, an average of 9.2% of freshmen, in any fall term between 2009 and 2018, transferred to a different institution by the following fall. By the end of six years, 38% of undergraduates had enrolled at a different institution at some point, according to the Research Center’s 2018 Transfer & Mobility Report.

In addition, the 2019 Tracking Transfer Report Series, which focuses on the student transfer from two- to four-year institutions nationally, showed that out of 852,000 students who first enrolled at a community college, 31.5 percent transferred to a four-year institution within six years.

Why Are Students Transferring?

In response to social distancing measures, many colleges and universities have been forced to adapt their curriculums and campuses, moving courses online and reconfiguring campus housing. Many students are reconsidering their options in response to these changes.

Students Might be Staying Closer to Home

According to an AP story, University of Texas at Arlington commitments from state residents are up 26% over last compared to last year. Other universities like Ohio State and Western Kentucky are up by 20% in local students.

Accurate Data to Understand Enrollment

While media accounts such as these are provocative, the Research Center’s series will use comprehensive data and show details for specific student populations. As an example, the findings of the Research Center’s Summer 2020 Enrollment Report showed much more troubling impacts of the pandemic for Blacks, males, rural areas, and community college students, insights that can be critical for universities and colleges seeking to allocate resources, balance course offerings and support their students and faculty through unprecedented times.

For insight throughout 2020 and 2021, watch for the Research Center’s regular updates to understand student transfer, mobility, and progress!

“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.“

Doug Shapiro
Executive director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

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