tc columbia

Ease of Access and Usefulness of Transfer Information on Community College Websites in Texas

By: Lauren Schudde, Dwuana Bradley & Caitlin Absher

Abstract

Many first-time community college entrants aspire to earn a bachelor’s degree, but few do. To transfer, students often must overcome information constraints to navigate bureaucratic hurdles and conflicting requirements. For a sample of 20 Texas community colleges, the authors reviewed college websites, assessing the ease of access and usefulness of online transfer information, and spoke to key transfer personnel about the information provided to students. The authors used a qualitative case study approach to triangulate findings from their data sources. Approximately two thirds of colleges in the sample fell below the highest standard on the rubric for either ease of access or usefulness, indicating room for improvement at most institutions. Many personnel interviewed recognized the strengths and limitations of their college’s online information, though several were ambivalent regarding the need for improving online transfer information, arguing that the availability of online information alone is insufficient for successful transfer and not as important as face-to-face advising. This research illustrates the need for colleges to develop and update their online information with care, determining which information students need to transfer (including transfer guides for partner programs/colleges), how students might search for that information, and ensuring that necessary transfer information is available and up-to-date. The framework provided by this rubric may guide institutions in the evaluation of their online transfer information.