The Path to Better Transfer Pathways in Education

A large critique of the traditional post-secondary system is the expenses incurred during attainment of a degree. Currently, the solution is to begin a college career at community college then transferring to a public or private university. This works because entry-level credits are transferable to most public and private universities, and the credits are taken on a lower cost-basis. In fact, Kentucky community colleges are on average $7K and $12K cheaper annually compared to Kentucky public and private colleges respectively. This is known as taking the ‘transfer pathway’, which has become a focal point in Kentucky.

Although there’s innate cost-efficiency with transfer pathways, many students struggle with actually transferring. In fact, only 23% of transfer pathway students transfer within 3 years and only 13% attain a bachelor’s degree. The primary identified causes are ambiguous major requirements and lack of adequate advisement. To make transfer pathways more feasible, Kentucky has established a website for transfer students that clarifies major requirements and steps along the pathway. With less major changes, degree attainment is more straightforward and much more frequent. Alternatively, students do not always seek out their advisors, which they would often greatly benefit from. 

To remedy this, Kentucky has established periodic and proactive adviser meetings. With these meetings, informational barriers are overcome, and it allows students to better assess their progress. Additionally, students can form a plan with their adviser that streamlines the degree attainment process. Furthermore, only 70% of credits earned at a community college transfer to the receiving university. To further incentivize students to take transfer pathways, Kentucky’s General Education Transfer Policy ensures all credits for an associate’s degree transfer for public universities.

Ultimately, transfer pathways are a very effective tool for college students across the nation. Kentucky’s efforts to make them more accessible and feasible is likely to have widespread benefits for a plethora of students. With this, degree attainment can increase, and the bachelor’s degree holding students is likely to soar.

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