Transfer Enrollment Decline of Nearly 10% from Last Spring Marks Steepest Drop Since the Pandemic Started
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released today research that shows COVID-19’s impact on colleges and universities nationwide is solidifying. With 94% of Clearinghouse institutions reporting, transfer enrollment at community colleges continues to be hit hardest by the pandemic, regardless of student group, gender, race, and ethnicity, or age, while public four-year institutions remain the least affected among all sectors.
“This semester marks the steepest year-over-year decline in overall transfer enrollment since the pandemic began, with a 10% drop over last spring in the number of students who changed institutions from their most recent prior enrollment. As a comparison, non-transfer students declined by only 6.5%,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “Making sure that students remain able to access all available opportunities to reach their goals, including through transfer, is critical to supporting their success amid the disruptions of the pandemic.”
At community colleges, transfer enrollment declined 16.3% this spring, a two-fold increase over last year’s decline of 8%. The decline among non-transfer students was also steep at 13%. White, Black, Latinx, and Asian transfer enrollment all worsened at community colleges, while they each fared better at public four-year colleges compared to their pre-pandemic transfer trends.
At public four-year colleges, White and Black transfer students declined 6.2% and 2.8%, respectively, though their declines were smaller than in the previous year. Latinx and Asian transfer students grew nearly 2%, benefitting from increased upward transfer opportunities. Latinx transfer students saw the largest percentage point swing of any racial/ethnic category in the public four-year sector, jumping from a decrease of 2.4% last spring to a 1.8% increase this spring.
Change in Undergraduate Enrollments by Transfer Status and Institution Sector
“Making sure that students remain able to access all available opportunities to reach their goals, including through transfer, is critical to supporting their success amid the disruptions of the pandemic.”
Executive Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center