Transfer numbers ratchet up


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Online programs and a recent “push” have increased the number of students transferring to the University of Iowa in the last few years, and officials say the surge shows no sign of slowing.

In the last two years, the online initiatives TransferInIowa and the UI’s 2 Plus 2 program are ways state Board of Regents’ institutions have tried to attract the “changing face” of community-college students: talented students who just want to save money.

“We really want these students here. They’re a goal of ours,” said Debra Miller, the head of UI undergraduate admissions.

Each of the three regent universities has a website describing its transfer process. But around two years ago, the schools and the regents collaborated to create TransferInIowa in order to offer prospective students a single information site.

From the fall of 2008 to the fall of 2009, the number of Iowa community-college students who transferred to the UI increased from 617 to 653. Iowa community-college transfers account for more than half of transfer students, Miller said.

In a press release from the Feb. 4 regents’ meeting, Regent President David Miles described TransferInIowa as a contributor to the “annual transfer of more than 10,000 community-college credits to Iowa’s public universities.”

The emphasis on transferring is not new, Miles told the DI on Monday, but the programs have helped substantially.

“It’s been going on for a number of years, but it’s really picked up speed beginning in 2008 when … transferiniowa.org was put together,” he said, noting the service lets students know how many credits will transfer.

Miller said 10,000 credits has been a pretty consistent number lately, but transfer students have continued to increase. The Task Force for Undergraduate Education and Success’ recent recommendation includes transfer students in its “expand access” goal.

“I think there’s always been a push, but I think it probably has more visibility now with the task force and the recent attempts to strengthen the ties,” Miller said.

Another initiative aimed at increasing transfers is the UI’s 2 Plus 2 guaranteed graduation plan. With a list of 20 available majors, the program advertises a guaranteed graduation from the UI if students follow the steps.

Junior Holli Petersen transferred to the UI last semester after two years at Kirkwood. Though she said she didn’t feel ready to jump into a large university right out of high school, her transition through the 2 Plus 2 program was smooth.

“As long as you follow the guide and do what you’re supposed to do, there are no problems at all,” she said.

The only problem she had while transferring was poor communication between her adviser at Kirkwood and her adviser at the UI, she said.

Laura Riley, the coordinator in advising and transfer center at Kirkwood, said that school has also seen an increase of students transferring to four-year colleges. Though she said much of that is because of increased enrollment, the programs have certainly been a factor.

“It allows them to see that starting out in a community college in Iowa is never a bad thing,” she said. “It’s been wonderful.”

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