Here’s a national trend that’s a response to the high cost of education and the worsening economy: a growth in the number of transfer students. This is partly because many students are choosing to begin their college years at a lower-cost community college, and partly because students are transferring out of expensive schools they can no longer afford. The trend is also fueled by adults returning to school to make themselves more marketable in the workplace.
According to the USA Today, colleges and universities are going out of their way to help transfer students more than ever. Although these students have often fallen through the cracks, their rising numbers mean that schools need to find ways to better meet their needs.
Schools are also beginning to realize more the value of having nontraditional students around who can contribute their experiences to the classroom and the community. I couldn’t agree more. I always enjoyed having older students in my classes because they had such different experiences than the other students in the room and could bring a fresh perspective into discussions. Younger transfer students also contributed quite a bit in the same way because they come from another school.
Clearly, transfer students are everywhere, and schools really do need to find ways to accommodate them better. For starters, it needs to become easier to transfer credits from one school to another. Many schools are very picky about which credits they will accept in transfer, and run students through piles of red tape as they try to argue that other credits should transfer as well. This often means added semesters for transfer students, which is a further financial burden on students who already may be transferring because of money issues. Colleges and universities need to find ways to make this system more fair, and to find other ways to help out transfer students.