Successful Student Transfer: A Key Building Block of the Completion Agenda

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Increasing global competition in technology and commerce has led many nations, including the United States, to focus on the productivity and output of their higher education institutions. Data from the last few years show that the U.S. is falling behind many developed countries in degree production, and this is particularly true for STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The reaction to this situation has been for academic leaders to initiate and emphasize strategies that fall under the heading of the “completion agenda,” which seeks ways to increase the proportion of the U.S. population with associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Two necessary imperatives for the completion agenda are to produce high school graduates that are college ready and to increase the rate at which students advance through higher education to a degree. To achieve the latter, we must address the impact of transfer, finding ways to move it from a stumbling block to a building block of degree completion.