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What We Know About Transfer

By: Davis Jenkins & John Fink

Abstract

What We Know About Transfer

This research overview reviews recent findings on transfer from community colleges to four-year institutions, including student transfer patterns, student outcomes, barriers to transfer, the economic benefits of transfer, and the potential benefits of vertical transfer for four-year colleges and universities.

Overall, the returns to transfer are strong, and transfer offers a vital route to a bachelor’s degree for many underserved students. However, there are significant barriers to transfer—particularly the loss of credits many community college students experience when they transition to four-year institutions. Improving the transfer process and ensuring students can transfer credits efficiently has the potential to substantially raise college attainment and thereby contribute to upward mobility.