Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Reverse Transfers and Unintended Consequences
They do not, at my institution, encourage students to leave early. The students who leave early have always planned to leave early. (From the IPEDS viewpoint, they lied when they said their objective was to earn an AA degree. They intend to transfer before earning an AA degree, once they convince a particular university or their parents to let them transfer.) If they fail to transfer early, it is because they messed up and didn't take our classes seriously. Now our situation might be special, but your mention of 54 credits makes me suspect we are not.
There are three conditions under which our students can transfer to some of the more selective universities in this area. (1) They have an AA degree and meet the transfer admission criteria. They get block transfer of 60 credits and enter with all of their general education requirements met. (2) They have 54 credits and meet the transfer requirements. They get screwed, because they have to meet the university's general education requirements, which are different and in some ways quite unique. As the cost of those extra classes has grown, this happens less often so it not as big of a deal as it used to be here or might be elsewhere. (3) They meet the freshman admission requirements to the university, and earn good grades in a preset group of courses as freshmen. They can transfer in a year or less, if they make the grade. We used to get screwed on the IPEDS measures, but we are now capturing those via a reverse transfer agreement.
It is a win-win now, because the university uses this to game the college ranking rules. (Or parents use it to get their kids to prove they are responsible enough to move to another city on their own.) The university looks more selective, with a higher gpa and SAT ranking for incoming freshmen, and we get some great students who now actually earn a degree, and they also get those good students without risking their IPEDS grad rate.