The Transfer Army

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The Great Recession has triggered a huge increase in the demand for community colleges. While some of this has to do with unemployed people eager for job training, a lot of this increase just comes from traditional college students hoping to save their parents some cash.

These are different community college students. These students are going to get BAs. This means they’re all going to try to transfer pretty soon. So watch out. According to an article by Marc Cutright in Inside Higher Ed:

Many solutions will be based in knowing just who these coming students are. Community college and transfer students are, of course, delightfully diverse. But there will be significant, evidenced differences among these students, I believe, particularly compared to conventional, direct-entry first year students at a university. Recognizing these differences and dealing with them — or failing to do so — will mean that some universities will be winners in this new “market,” and some will be losers. More critically, getting this right as a nation will make a difference in whether we will accomplish national goals for higher education attainment — or possibly even backslide.

Cutright is associate of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, and a professor of education at the University of North Texas.

The problem is that traditionally community colleges haven’t done a very good job preparing students to transfer to traditional colleges. This means that colleges have to be prepared for a whole swath of juniors who may need a little extra help.

It also means these transfer students will understand that they have rights. They will, unlike many traditional transfer students, know what their colleges are supposed to give them. This means that, according to Cutright, colleges should end the long-standing practice in which “credits are tossed out by receiving institutions or their disciplinary faculties without real examination of course content or the putting aside of untested assumptions about community college quality.”

Because these new students will be savvy, sophisticated, and demanding. What’s more, they’ll have parents who went to college too. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer