Study shows that credit transfers affect graduation rates


By Sarah Dean, Staff Writer


A new study found that the number of credits accepted by 4-year institutions from transfer students drastically affects how many of those students actually complete their bachelor’s degrees. In addition, two in five transfers monitored in the study lost more than 10 percent of their earned credits during the transfer process.

Stetson transfers have long voiced problems with losing their credits. However, The Reporter was unable to reach Stetson’s Office of Admissions by press time about how many students experience these situations.

The study, conducted by City University of New York Education professor Dr. Paul Attewell and doctoral student David Monaghan, intended to measure students’ success after they transfer from community colleges to 4-year institutions. The data was based on 13,000 records of freshman transfers who reported that they wanted to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

They found that the number of credits that students lost in the transfer process had a significant effect on whether or not those students actually finished their bachelor’s degree in six years. Students who lost many credits were less likely to complete their degree than those whose credits transferred successfully.

In addition, one in seven transfers actually had to restart their college careers because their new school accepted less than 10 percent of their earned credits.

Some public four-year institutions are trying to address the problem of lost credits by making it simpler for students to transfer from community colleges.

Currently, Stetson accepts up to 64 credits from other institutions. According to the Registrar’s Office website, the credits “must be comparable with courses taught at Stetson.” Simply passing the class or credit exam with a D- is not acceptable either. A student must have earned a C or above in the class or on the credit exam for Stetson to accept it.

According to Enrollment Specialist Terri Richards, “Stetson does not accept technical or certificate type courses, courses taken to complete a technical degree, physical education courses, or any type of pre-college courses.” Additionally, scores from Advanced Placement tests and the like must be above-average to transfer to Stetson.

Freshman Galen McTaggart, who earned almost two whole semesters’ worth of AICE and AP credits, said she had difficulty transferring her credits into Stetson.

“I had to re-order them, and even then, the school would not accept them all,” McTaggart said.

Freshman Gigi Singh also said she had trouble transferring credits. In the end, Stetson only accepted 48 of her 64 earned credits.

“After taking years of college courses in math, language and English, being told I have to do it again was very frustrating,” Singh said. “It means instead of focusing on the courses I have now, I have to review and take other tests and stress to fight for credits I’ve already earned.”

 A follow-up story will be posted online when more details about Stetson’s transfer rates are available.