35 Percent of College Students Transfer Colleges

on September 20, 2017

A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that 35 percent of college students transferred to a new college from 2004 to 2009. The report also revealed that students face obstacles in obtaining information about transferring colleges.


Students did not have access to adequate advising information when they were transferring between colleges. This has financial implications for students who lose academic credit and must retake classes, the report stated.


Of the transfers, 62 percent were between public colleges and universities.


“Students can face challenges transferring credits between schools that do not have statewide polices or articulation agreements, which are transfer agreements or partnerships between schools designating how credits earned at one school will transfer to another,” the report stated.


Here’s a breakdown of what the report found and what you can do if you need to transfer colleges:

  • Students who transferred from 2004 to 2009 lost an estimated 43 percent of their credits. If a student is interested in transferring colleges, they should ask admissions officers about credit transfer policies and work with them to determine how much of their earned credit will transfer.
  • Transferring can have different effect a college’s affordability. Although students can save on tuition costs by transferring to a less expensive college, there might be additional costs from the need to repeat classes. This is why it’s important to know which credits will transfer. Students also should calculate the cost of repeating classes.
  • Transferring can impact financial aid. Students who lose credits can use financial aid to pay for repeated courses. This increases the cost to the federal government. Students who exhaust their financial aid eligibility may have to pay for the classes themselves. That can result in additional out-of-pocket costs. Students should ask a college’s financial aid advisers about the impact of transferring.
  • Colleges are required to publish their credit transfer policies and partner colleges. These policies, however, are not required to be online. If you can’t find a college’s policy or partner colleges on its web site, ask for a physical copy.

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