Colleges Must Protect Transfer Students Through COVID-19
Since the dawn of the pandemic, higher education has entered a tumultuous period for all involved. This especially goes for students as they attempt to determine what the fall will look like at their university. Low-income, first-generation, students of color, and transfer students have all been particularly vulnerable through this year, impacted by things such as food and housing insecurity, a lack of resources to complete online education, and environmental stress from the recent focus on systemic racism and police brutality in the United States. The Lumina Foundation took a closer look at this impact as part of a two-part series penned by authors Amber Garrison Duncan and Haley Glover.
What 2020 has made clear in the world of higher education is just how deep the divides in student bodies truly are, widening gaps in income, racial equity, and the likelihood of being able to complete a degree program. Duncan and Glover attest that now is the time to take a deep look at how schools cater to students and the programs they provide. This applies to transfer students in particular, who, according to one study, lose 43% of their credits. This not only targets low-income students, who may take advantage of community college programs before transferring to a four-year school, but also puts students at a disadvantage now that degree programs are being interrupted and students may be forced to relocate due to the pandemic.
According to Duncan and Glover, this movement between schools and programs is called the “student swirl,” and especially affects students of color. Part of achieving true racial equity on campuses includes addressing specific, nuanced issues such as these. Ensuring smooth and flexible transfer policies are in place at higher ed institutions is a method of ensuring that education is accessible to students from all walks of life. For Duncan and Glover, this also includes counting things such as military or job experience as potential fulfillment for pre-requisite classes and those adults who have some college but no degree, or who are at risk of stopping out due to COVID-19 related challenges.
As students face an increased risk of this swirl due to environmental circumstances, it is time for colleges to step up and ensure that students are able to continue their education uninterrupted, and ease the path for transfer students.
Watch for more on Thursday, when Go College! Now will cover the second part of this Lumina series, which addresses policy changes.
Read the full article here.