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Transfer Student Disparities Grow Across Racial and Ethnic Lines During the Pandemic

by NSC Blog | Aug 31, 2021 | Research Reports, Research Services |

Higher education lost 191,500 transfer students or 8.4% compared to the previous year

In the 2020-21 academic year, higher education lost about 191,500 transfer students, or 8.4% compared to the previous year, according to research released today by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The COVID-19: Transfer, Mobility, and Progress Academic Year 2020-21 Report, the fifth in the series, reflects the pandemic’s full-blown impact on postsecondary students.

This is the first comprehensive report to assess the effects of the pandemic on student transfer during the entire academic year, in which 2.1 million undergraduate students transferred to a college other than their last enrolled institution between July 2020 and June 2021.

“The bright spot for students is the increase in upward transfer into highly selective four-year colleges and universities,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “As transfers overall decline and equity gaps grow, however, this small segment alone cannot erase the larger concerns of diminished opportunity for students.”

How enrollment and transfer patterns continue to persist or diverge going into the upcoming academic year remains to be seen, but the Research Center expects as the pandemic continues, there will likely be further divergences among students and institutions, deepening the longstanding concerns over disparities in student mobility and progress.

The COVID-19 Transfer, Mobility, and Progress Report series, with support from Ascendium Education Group and ECMC Foundation, identifies 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 providing the most up-to-date information about student transfer available online for free, the Research Center enables schools, institutions, organizations, and policymakers to better adapt and serve students, particularly those from the most vulnerable populations, during the pandemic and beyond.

Discover other report highlights and data points by reading the press release and the COVID-19: Transfer, Mobility, and Progress Academic Year 2020-21 Report

Year-Over-Year Change in Fall Upward Transfers by Institutional Selectivity

Note: The term “Highly Selective Institutions” refers to the top two categories combined, Most Competitive and Highly Competitive according to the Barron’s selectivity index.

“The bright spot for students is the increase in upward transfer into highly selective four-year colleges and universities. As transfers overall decline and equity gaps grow, however, this small segment alone cannot erase the larger concerns of diminished opportunity for students.”

Doug Shapiro
Executive Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

 

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