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The Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities and Helios Education Foundation Aim to Create the Most Transfer Friendly Campuses in the U.S.

Author: Michael Preston, Executive Director, Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities

July 23, 2021

For the past five years, U.S News and World Report has named Florida as the top state in the United States for Higher Education. The recognition comes from a unified system focusing on providing access, reducing costs, and ensuring quality regardless of where students begin their post-secondary education. Nowhere is this dedication to access, affordability, and quality apparent than through the members of the Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities efforts at transfer student success.

Every fall nearly 20,000 transfer students enroll at either Florida International University, the University of Central Florida, or the University of South Florida. To put it another way, 63% of all transfer students in the state university system chose our three universities making FIU, UCF, and USF three of the top 10 transfer destinations in the U.S. To help so many transfer students connect with our campuses, we rely on a series of articulation agreements with 16 of the 28 state colleges in the state. These agreements assure admission into the university of choice and reduce barriers many transfers face like transferring credits or registering for classes.

However, while our universities work hard to create as welcoming an environment as possible, the road to graduation is still a bit rockier for transfer students who have a 9% less chance of graduating than students who begin their college career at a university. They can also take up to a full year longer to graduate. Transfer students are less likely to graduate with a degree in a program of their choice if they have not completed the right type of courses in the correct order at their State College.

All these issues have motivated us to work together and form the Florida Transfer Success Network. State colleges and universities make up the network, which works together to improve the conditions for on-time graduation that will save students time and money. We estimate a savings of $7,500 in expenses for every semester we reduce time to graduation, not to mention their earlier entrance into the job market.

That is why we have partnered with Helios Education Foundation to embark on a 4-year journey to work together and close the transfer graduation and time to degree gap. We will do this by focusing on working with our 16 State College partners and completing projects in three distinct areas:

  • Reduce transfer shock by creating a transfer coaching and advising academy focused on Major readiness for students through aligned training for state college and university professionals.
  • Design a universal and public course equivalency and sequencing database designed to help students avoid double course credits, maximize prior coursework, and allow students to explore their Major readiness.
  • Promote retention through targeted student supports identified by the network. 

If we work together and build smoother bridges for transfer students to cross from the state college to their state university we can eliminate any performance gaps. This work will also benefit our efforts to ensure a university education is accessible for all. The majority of our transfer students are low-income from underrepresented populations, and our partnership will increase the likelihood for better social mobility outcomes and ensure Florida has the talent it needs to continue to build the country’s most diverse and dynamic economies.

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