Achieving the Dream Among 25 Organizations to Call for Improved Transfer Policies

In October, Achieving the Dream signed a call to action issued by Scaling Partners Network that urges higher education leaders and policymakers to improve transfer policies. The network of diverse organizations behind the call to action emphasized the systemic racial inequity furthered by current transfer policies and the need for urgent action as COVID-19  is poised to result in record numbers of students transferring across institutions.

Currently, 50 percent of college graduates attended at least two institutions before obtaining a bachelor’s degree. But over half of transfer students (53 percent) were not able to apply all of their transfer credits toward their degree. Policies that result in credit loss raise barriers to success for transfer students working to complete their education.

These barriers have a disproportionate impact on traditionally under-served and minoritized students. Black, LatinX and Indigenous students are more likely than their white peers to begin in community college, so they are hit hardest by practices and policies that result in credit loss when they transfer.

Urgent action is needed, especially at a time when the number of transfer students across the country is expected to rise. Scaling Partners Network cites many intersecting factors that are currently causing record numbers of students to transfer to and from higher education institutions. These include:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic, which is driving many students to choose different pathways to obtaining their degree, such as transferring to more affordable institutions or pausing their studies
  • The economic recession, which may result in displaced workers returning to school for skills training
  • The wider availability of programs such as dual enrollment, where students may enter college with credits they have earned in high school
  • The rising cost of higher education nationwide

As the COVID-19 pandemic reshapes higher education, Achieving the Dream joins dozens of other organizations in recognizing that the gaps created by current transfer policies are only going to widen unless leaders and policymakers take action.

The call to action includes suggested priorities and strategies for leaders in higher education policy to create equitable pathways to success for transfer students. To learn more, read the full call to action here (PDF).

About Scaling Partners Network: Convened by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Scaling Partners Network is a diverse group of of policy, advocacy, research and institutional membership organizations working together under the principle that greater connection and coordinated action will enable the higher education field to scale innovations faster, more efficiently, and with deeper impact.

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