According to a new survey conducted by The Affordable College Public Benefit Corporation, 41.5 percent of college students have transferred from one college to another. Of these transfer students, 72.3 percent said, “Yes, I have lost credits when transferring colleges,” while only 27.7 percent said, “No, I when I transferred, all of my credits transferred, too.”
Of the students who lost credits transferring from one college to another, 25.0 percent said, “I wish my advisor had provided more help,” 23.3 percent said, “my old college had no relationship with me new one,” 15.0 percent said, “my new college was more selective than my old one,” 13.3 percent said, “I changed majors,” 11.7 percent said, “My GPA was too low,” and 11.7 percent said, “I lost credits, but I don’t know why.”
The survey of 200 full-time students in the United States has a margin of error of 6.93 percent. The survey was conducted on January 12, 2016, and only took 16 minutes to complete by using 1Q, a technology startup whose mission is to “radically revolutionize the rules of market research.”
For example, Affordable College simply selected the demographic and geographic target we wanted to survey and IQ routed our question straight to the mobile devices of those people. This was our initial survey, so we set a limit on the number of responses, which normally cost $1.00 a completion. And $0.50 of that goes to each respondent for 5 seconds of their time.
This enabled me to watch the results appear in real time in a clickable results chart, along with each respondent’s location represented by a pin on Google Maps. We also got demographic breakdowns for all of the respondents and have the option of sending a follow-up question to any group.
Implications of the Survey
The organizers of The Affordable College Public Benefit Corporation conducted a survey in April 2014 that found up to 56 percent of students who were then enrolled in college were likely to transfer to another institution. The survey of 1,027 college students, which used Google Consumer Surveys, also found that “transfer of most credits toward degree” was the most important factor when selecting another institution.
When we drilled down into the data back then, we discovered that 14 percent of the students who were enrolled in college said they were “completely likely” to transfer, 13 percent said they were “very likely: to transfer, 18 percent were “somewhat likely” to transfer, 11 percent were “slightly likely” to transfer, and only 44 percent were not at all likely to transfer to another institution.
So, the first finding in our new study that 41.5 percent of college students have transferred from one college to another wasn’t that surprising. It indicates that college students who said two years ago that they were completely, very, or somewhat likely to transfer actually have.
However, the real surprise in our new study is the second finding that 72.3 percent of transfer students have lost credits when transferring colleges, while only 27.7 percent transferred all of their credits when they transferred. Losing some or all of the credits that have already been paid for by a student (and/or the student’s family) is one of the reasons why college is less affordable today.
How should the advocates of Affordable College tackle this problem? Based on the responses of the college students that we just surveyed, there are no magic bullets.
In some cases, we need to provide college advisors with more information, resources, training, and tools so they can provide more help to students who are thinking of transferring. In other cases, we need to provide college students with more information, resources, training, and tools so they can changed majors or improve their GPA in order to successfully transfer more of their hard-earned credits. In addition, we need to build new transfer pathways between a broad spectrum of two-year and four-year institutions, including more selective ones. Finally, we also need to be more transparent so that if students lose credits, then at least they will know why.
Implications of the Methodology
One of the lessons that we’ve learned from using 1Q is that it has a sufficiently large member base with enough college students – including community college students – so we can conduct additional surveys in the coming months with a larger number of respondents, so we can get results with a smaller margin of error.
In addition, we are impressed by 1Q’s strong customer-centric focus. The About Us page on the start-up’s website says, “What’s important is how we’re going to change the World by taking money away from corporate middlemen and putting it directly in the hands of people who’s time is being requested and who’s opinions are being sought.”
The 1Q About Us page adds, “We are advertised to…we are marketed to…we receive unsolicited calls and emails…and for what? Nothing! At 1Q, we believe if someone wants 5, or 10, or 20 seconds of your time, to help sell their product or answer their question, you should get paid, and we’re the ones who are going to fight the big fight, on your behalf, to make sure that happens!”
As the editor of a blog that’s supported by a B Corp, that’s music to my ears.
(Greg Jarboe is the editor of The Advocate of Affordable College blog and the former editor of the Knowledge Transfer blog. He’s also the president and co-founder of SEO-PR, an instructor at the Rutgers Business School, the content marketing faculty chair at Market Motive, as well as the author of YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day.)