We are making a catalytic impact on the issue of transfer credits by enabling students who transfer between City University of New York (CUNY) colleges, which well over two-thirds of New York City public school students attend, to count their previously earned credits toward degree requirements at their new institution. Since we spotlighted this issue, 5 other NYC based foundations as well 3 major national foundations (Susan and Michael Dell, ECMC and Ascendium) have supported major expansions of this work in New York and across the Country.
Over a third of college students transfer at least once yet, according to a 2018 Government Accountability Office report, approximately 43% of credits earned at a previously attended institution are lost when students transfer, making transfer students far less likely to graduate. This disproportionately affects low-income students because lost credits often result in their running out of financial aid before they have enough credits in a major study area to graduate—federal (Pell) and New York State (TAP) grants stop after a certain number of years and require that a student make a particular amount of progress towards a degree each year. So, if a student does not receive full credit for two years of college upon transfer, he/she has, in effect, “wasted” essential federal and state financial aid and is likely to run out of aid before reaching graduation. Our support has led to:
In 2022 we invested in a 3-year plan aimed at expanding the project scope and Transfer Explorer to include systems beyond CUNY, facilitating a transfer community of practice, and incorporating business intelligence into the site such that users are presented with analysis, options, and guidance tailored to a student’s unique circumstances.
In 2022, Ithaka S+R released a study outlining the impact the project: Archiving Degree Audit Data to Measure and Reduce Lost Transfer Credit, and Grantmakers for Education selected it from among 138 submissions for its national conference.