Transfer students are a growing subpopulation on campuses of all types. Studies have shown significant student mobility among two-year and four-year campuses. This creates an obligation for schools to monitor transfer students and to support them as they seek to refine their education and career goals.
Transfer and Mobility: A National View of Pre-Degree Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions is one report that offers interesting insights on student mobility. It is the second Signature Report™ of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, completed in cooperation with the Project on Academic Success at Indiana University. The study reviews the mobility patterns of 2.8 million full- and part-time students, and it includes students at public and private nonprofit and for-profit institutions.
The study finds that, at nonprofit schools (both two-year and four-year), fully one-third of two- and four-year students transfer to another institution within a five-year period. The mobility rate drops below 20 percent at private, for-profit schools, but is still a significant number of students. (One possible reason for this lower rate may be that students attending these higher-cost, for-profit schools tend to have a greater focus on their career intentions before committing to their programs.)