72% of Transfer Students Have Lost Credits According to New Survey by The Affordable College Public Benefit Corporation

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Survey results unveiled ahead of American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) annual convention also finds 42% of college students have transferred from one college to another

Have you lost credits transferring from one college to another?

Have you lost credits transferring from one college to another?

The real surprise in our new study is the finding that 72.3 percent of transfer students have lost credits when transferring colleges.

According to a new survey conducted by The Affordable College Public Benefit Corporation, 41.5 percent of college students have transferred from one college to another. Of these transfer students, 72.3 percent said, “Yes, I have lost credits when transferring colleges,” while only 27.7 percent said, “No, I when I transferred, all of my credits transferred, too.”

Of the students who lost credits transferring from one college to another, 25.0 percent said, “I wish my advisor had provided more help,” 23.3 percent said, “My old college had no relationship with me new one,” 15.0 percent said, “My new college was more selective than my old one,” 13.3 percent said, “I changed majors,” 11.7 percent said, “My GPA was too low,” and 11.7 percent said, “I lost credits, but I don’t know why.”

The survey results were unveiled ahead of the 96th American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) annual convention, which will take place April 9-12, 2016, in Chicago, IL. The AACC annual meeting is among the largest and most dynamic gatherings of educational leaders, attracting over 2,000 community college presidents and senior administrators, as well as international educators, representatives of business/industry, and federal agencies.

Sean O'Brien, Founder at Affordable College, said, “The real surprise in our new study is the finding that 72.3 percent of transfer students have lost credits when transferring colleges. Losing some or all of the credits that have already been paid for by a student – and/or the student’s family – is one of the reasons why college is less affordable today for community college students.”

He added, “Based on the responses of the college students that we just surveyed, there are no magic bullets. In some cases, we need to provide college advisors with more information, resources, training, and tools so they can provide more help to students who are thinking of transferring. In other cases, we need to provide college students with more information, resources, training, and tools so they can change majors or improve their GPA in order to successfully transfer more of their hard-earned credits. In addition, we need to build new transfer pathways between a broad spectrum of two-year and four-year institutions, including more selective ones. Finally, we also need to be more transparent so that if students lose credits, then at least they will know why.”

O’Brien also said, “The AACC annual convention is an ideal place for us to continue to explore why so many students are losing credits when they transfer. The most recent National Student Clearinghouse report on transfer and mobility showed that approximately 1.8M community college students transferred 1.2M times in a single cohort in 2008. Combine this with the 2014 National Center for Education Statistics report showing that students lose an average of 13 credits at first transfer and you see math on credit loss and additional student debt nationally that is astounding. We’ll also be looking for any connections the transfer problem might have on the decreasing enrollment at community colleges. As more students are questioning the value of a bachelor’s degree and new pathways to employment are being developed outside traditional higher ed, could it be true that students are finding alternatives that avoid the transfer problem? We’re especially focused in this area on learning more about why low-income students are disproportionately turning away from college.”

He also added, “The biggest questions I have really are: who is responsible for the credit and time students are losing at transfer, how much additional debt are they are taking on, and finally what funding might be available to develop solutions that address the problem.”

Survey Methodology

The survey of 200 full-time students in the United States has a margin of error of 6.93 percent. The survey was conducted on January 12, 2016, and only took 16 minutes to complete by using 1Q, a technology startup whose mission is to “radically revolutionize the rules of market research.”

About The Affordable College Public Benefit Corporation

The Affordable College Public Benefit Corporation is a B Corp founded to provide community college students with a clear path to an affordable bachelor’s degree by bringing together community colleges and universities in a Transfer Student Marketplace. Its Community College Success Fund provides financial support for community colleges to increase enrollment, retention, and transfer rates. For more information, visit http://www.affordablecollege.org.

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Sean O'Brien
@SeanOBrienEDU
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