• Transfer Receptivity: An Examination of Factors that Influence Transfer Student Retention at a Four-Year Public University

      Joseph, Daurette Lavon; Tift College of Education
      While eighty percent of students enrolled in community colleges express the intent to transfer to a 4-year institution and earn a bachelor’s degree, only seventeen percent actually reach that goal within 6 years of transferring. This study addressed the problem using case study methodology to identify, understand, and describe factors at a four-year public university that influence community college transfer students’ successful degree completion. The setting for the study is a four-year public university with a consistently competitive degree completion rate for community college transfer students. In their most recent report, seventy nine percent of transfer students who entered the university from community college settings received a bachelor's degree within 6 years. The study was guided by three research questions related to the institution’s culture, strategies, policies, and procedures in academic and financial aid advisement. Multiple data collection methods were used, including document analyses and staff interviews. Eight critical university documents were reviewed inductively before interviews were conducted with eleven staff of the institution. The researcher gathered their reflections and insights using open-ended interviews. Data analyses revealed four themes that addressed the research question: Validating Experience and Evaluating Needs, Collaborating Internally and Externally, Creating Advising Opportunities, and Supporting Engagement and Resource Connections. The findings strongly indicate a critical need for transfer student institutional support. Further, the findings suggest that universities should evaluate transfer students' needs based on their experiences, form strategic internal and external partnerships to anticipate and address transfer student transition issues, and support and facilitate transfer student engagement. The study adds to the emerging literature on transfer receptivity by focusing on the four-year institution and its role in supporting transfer students through their transition and degree completion. The classroom provides a unique opportunity for transfer students to engage socially and academically. Future research should consider the faculty’s role and influence on transfer students’ engagement.