Jun 29, 2015

Transfer students continue to head south

Liberty University
Transfer students are continuing their march south, according to data compiled by U.S. News and World Report, as large public universities in Florida, California and Texas dominated the list of most popular destinations for transfers last year. 

And from a practical standpoint, these are the schools that have capacity to accept and enroll huge numbers of transfer students.

For the record, there are many reasons students choose to move schools. Often money issues are involved. Or sometimes it’s a question of academics, majors or a simple desire to be closer to home. 

The National Student Clearinghouse reports that one-third of all students transfer at least once within five years, with the majority of transfers occurring in students’ second year.

And community college students make up a huge percentage of students moving from one institution to another.   

In fact, the National Student Clearinghouse also reports that in the 2013-14 academic year (most recent data available), 46 percent of students who completed degrees at four-year institutions were enrolled at a two-year institutions at some point in the previous ten years.

Even President Obama transferred across country during his college career.

Among the “ranked” colleges and universities providing U.S. News with transfer data, the University of Texas at Arlington topped the list with 8,760 students transferring in.  Other popular warm-weather destinations include the University of Central Florida and Florida International University, as well as various California State locations.

A quick review of local colleges and universities also suggests significant transfer movement at some larger institutions.  Liberty University (6482 transfers),
UMUC (3646), Old Dominion University (2105), George Mason University (2547), Virginia Commonwealth University (2095), the University of Maryland (2022) and Towson University (2299) enrolled the most transfer students.

According to even more recent Common Data Set information, fewer transfers were to be found at other local institutions including Johns Hopkins (45), the University of Richmond (48), and Georgetown University (148).

With more spots to fill, George Washington accepted 59 percent of its transfer applicants and enrolled 492 students, while James Madison University accepted 56 percent of its applicants and enrolled 677 students.

University of Virginia accepted 38 percent of those applying to transfer and enrolled 665, at the same time the College of William and Mary accepted 40 percent of its transfer applicants and enrolled 157.

With high retention and graduation rates, Washington and Lee University doesn’t have much of a transfer program.  Last year 59 students applied, 2 were admitted, and 2 enrolled.

On the other side of the spectrum, among the local colleges admitting the highest percent of transfer applicants were the
University of Mary Washington (73%), St. Mary’s College of Maryland (78%), Virginia Tech (52%), Goucher College (51%), and American University (67%).

The following is the
U.S. News list of four-year nonprofit universities enrolling the most transfer students:
  • University of  Texas—Arlington (8760)
  • Liberty University, VA (6482)
  • University of Central Florida (6447)
  • California State University-Northridge (5248)
  • California State University-Fullerton (4752)
  • California State University-Sacramento (4379)
  • University of South Florida (3859)
  • University of North Texas (3850)
  • San Jose State University, CA (3768)
  • San Francisco State University, CA (3766)
  • Texas State University (3740)
  • University of Maryland University College (3646)
  • San Diego State University, CA (3616)
  • Florida Atlantic University (3610)
  • University of Houston (3423)
Note that despite real interest in transfer data, the federal government doesn’t really keep track of these numbers outside of asking for a voluntary “transfer-out” rate, which may be found on College Navigator under “Retention and Graduation” rates.

Local transfer-out rates are provided by the Johns Hopkins University (2%), UVa (4%), College of William and Mary (7%), Washington and Lee University (8%), Randolph-Macon College (12%), McDaniel College (13%), Towson University (13%), University of Maryland College Park (14%), St. Mary’s College of Maryland (19%), George Mason University (21%), University of Mary Washington (23%), Old Dominion University (29%), and Roanoke College (33%). 

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