The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s (NRC) “First Look” report on the impacts of COVID-19 on transfer students shows upward transfers from two-year to four-year colleges are up slightly, but an expected surge in reverse transfers from four-year to two-year institutions has not materialized. Anecdotal evidence and news reports suggested large numbers of students were considering transferring from four-year institutions to two-year community colleges to earn cheaper credits and be closer to family.
The report also found that the increase in upward transfer wasn’t even across demographic groups. Male students, Black students and adult learners fell further behind other subgroups.
“The pandemic seems to be affecting students mainly by keeping them out of college, not by driving them to change colleges,” said Doug Shapiro, executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, in a news release. “Fewer students are enrolling as freshmen and fewer are returning from stop-outs.”
Along with the ECMC Foundation, we funded the center’s COVID-19 Transfer, Mobility, and Progress Report Series in order to support data-driven decision-making amid historic upheaval in the postsecondary education sector brought on by the pandemic. This aligns with our investment priority to expand and share data to drive institutional practices within our Streamline Key Learner Transitions focus area. The NRC will issue a series of mid-term and end-of-term reports over the next two years. The next report will be released Dec 21.