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Transfer students continue migrating toward warmer climates

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According to data compiled by US News, transfer students are continuing their migration toward warmer climates. Colleges and universities in California, Florida, and Texas dominated the list of most popular destinations for transfers last year.

And from a practical standpoint, these are schools that have capacity to accept and enroll astonishingly large numbers of transfers.

There are many reasons students choose to move schools. Often money issues are involved. Or sometimes it’s a question of academics or a desire to be closer to home.

The National Student Clearinghouse reports that one-third of all students transfer at least once within five years, with the majority of transfers occurring in students’ second year.

And community college students make up a huge percentage of students moving from one institution to another.

Even President Obama transferred across country during his college career.

Among the “ranked” colleges and universities providing U.S. News with transfer data, the University of Texas at Arlington topped the list with 8,649 students transferring in. In fact, three of the top transfer destinations were located in the Lone Star State: UT Arlington, University of Houston, and the University of North Texas.

A quick review of local colleges and universities also suggests significant transfer movement at some larger institutions. UMUC (3677 transfers), Old Dominion University (2284), George Mason University (2104), Virginia Commonwealth University (2021), the University of Maryland (1854) and Towson University (2105) enrolled the most transfer students.

According to even more recent Common Data Set information, far fewer transfers were to be found at other local institutions including Johns Hopkins (45) and the University of Richmond (52).

With more spots to fill, George Washington accepted 41 percent of its transfer applicants and enrolled 438 students, while James Madison University accepted 52 percent of its applicants and enrolled 621 students.

The University of Virginia accepted 41 percent of those applying to transfer and enrolled 671, at the same time the College of William and Mary accepted 43 percent of its transfer applicants and enrolled 185.

With high retention and graduation rates, Washington and Lee University doesn’t have much of a transfer program. Last year 71 students applied, 5 were admitted, and none enrolled.

On the other side of the spectrum, among the local colleges admitting the highest percent of transfer applicants were the University of Mary Washington (79%), St. Mary’s College of Maryland (72%), Virginia Tech (64%), and American University (60%).

The following is the U.S. News list of nonprofit universities enrolling the most transfer students:

  • University of Texas—Arlington (8649)
  • Arizona State University (7228)
  • University of Central Florida (6110)
  • California State University—Fullerton (4343)
  • University of Houston (4299)
  • Florida International University (4248)
  • California State University—Northridge (3978)
  • California State University—Long Beach (3940)
  • University of South Florida (3902)
  • University of North Texas (3929)

Note that despite real interest in transfer data, the federal government doesn’t really keep track of these numbers outside of asking for a voluntary “transfer-out” rate.

Local transfer-out rates are provided on the College Navigator site by the Johns Hopkins University (2%), UVa (4%), College of William and Mary (7%), Washington and Lee University (8%), Randolph-Macon College (12%), University of Maryland College Park (14%), St. Mary’s College of Maryland (19%), George Mason University (21%), and the University of Mary Washington (23%).

Many more institutions are not so forthcoming with their information and simply leave the question blank.

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