Nearly 200,000 fewer transfer students enrolled in college last year, report finds
August 31, 2021
Colleges and universities lost about 191,500 transfer students in the 2020-21 academic year — representing a loss almost three times greater than the previous year’s decline of 69,300 students, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
Every type of transfer saw declines, but some held up better than most, according to the report. Upward transfers — students moving from two-year schools to four-year colleges — were relatively stable, declining only about 1.3%.
Meanwhile, lateral transfers, or those between the same level of institutions, fell 11.9%. And reverse transfers, which are those from four-year colleges to two-year schools, slid 16.2%.
The Clearinghouse report paints a bleak picture for student mobility in the last academic year, with transfer enrollment falling 8.4% from the year before. That’s more than double the decline of nontransfer enrollment, which slid 3.7%.
Disparities were stark. Enrollment of Black transfer students fell the most out of the racial and ethnic categories the Clearinghouse tracks, dropping by 12.9%. White students and Latinx students also saw sharp declines, falling 9.1% and 8.4%, respectively.
Transfer enrollment of men fell 12.1%, more than double the rate of decline for women, whose transfer enrollment shrank 5.8%.