I Got Rejected, What Next or, Why You Should Become an Intentional Transfer Student Part 2

Adult LearnersThere are exceptions, of course. Students awarded full tuition scholarships, like a music prodigy with amazing oboe skills or a student who can help earn his team an NCAA basketball championship are saving loads on their college degree as well. Chances are, that’s not you. More likely, you are an adult learner and your basketball playing days are long gone. If this is the case, your chances at earning an athletic scholarship are slim to none. As an adult learner, unless you earn some other kind of scholarship or take advantage of an employer tuition reimbursement program, you will be paying tuition out-of-pocket or with a loan. Choosing to become a savvy transfer student is a proven way of taking out fewer student loans and keeping thousands of dollars in your pocket.

Why Does Transferring College Credits Make Such a Significant Dent In the Cost of College? 

It’s pretty simple. The cost of college is directly related to two major figures. The first is the total tuition and fees at the college you plan on enrolling in, and the second is length of time it takes for you to earn your degree. 

The first number, the total tuition and fees you pay, can be a hard number to pin down. In practical application, not every student actually ends up paying the full sticker price at college. Currently, only about one-third of college students pay the published price. The second main factor contributing to your cost of college is the amount of time it takes for you to earn your degree. This can be viewed as the number of semesters or the number of credit-hours. As such, every low-cost college credit you are able to earn for a required course, and then transfer to a higher-cost college where you plan on earning your degree, will directly reduce your total cost of college and time-to-degree. 

Who are Transfer Students?

Transfer students are college students who attend multiple institutions on their pathway to earning a college degree. The transfer student population represents a large subset of all college students including: 


1 in 3 students will transfer4 from one institution to another before earning their degree. What’s more, a growing number of students are planning on becoming a transfer student as part of their overall college plan. Of students who transfer:5

  • 37 percent transfer in their second year
  • 22 percent transfer as late as their fourth or fifth years
  • 25 percent transfer more than once
  • 27 percent transfer across state lines
  • 43 percent transfer into a public two-year college
3Scott-Clayton, Judith, Economix: College is Cheaper Than Your Think, 12/2011, p.1.
4National Student Clearinghouse, Transfer & Mobility: A National View of Pre-Degree Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions, 2/2012, p.5
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