As college retention rates drop, the number of transfer students rises.
As the economy continues to decline, so do college retention rates. Financial instability seems to be a common reason as to why students are transferring to cheaper institutions.
But often, much more goes into such a major decision. According to a recent study by the American College Test, only two-thirds of first-year students return to their original two- and four-year colleges.
“I transferred [to Temple] because of the reasonable tuition and also because of the closeness to home, the city atmosphere and familiarity,” said Jess Rhien, a sophomore public relations major who transferred to Temple this past fall.
Despite the number of students who have transferred to Temple, there are a large number of students who have chosen to attend other universities or drop out completely.
Dylan Budnick, a political science major at Portland State University in Oregon, transferred out of Temple this past June. After spending two years as an Owl, Budnick said he needed a change of location.
“I wanted to be in a city where the composition reflected my political affiliations and personal beliefs,” Budnick said.
He said he found Portland offers a better learning environment for those who share his nonreligious and liberal viewpoints.
“I identify myself as progressive and liberal, and since I am studying political science, I wanted to study in a place where I would feel comfortable and that reflected my political [beliefs],” Budnick added.
Although Budnick seamlessly transitioned into Portland State’s student body, he said he misses Temple’s diverse population. The junior had an easy transition with only minor housing issues and car trouble on the long drive to Oregon. But not everyone is that fortunate.
Becka Katz, a freshman at Bucks County Community College, had a difficult transition. Katz transferred into a community college after her first semester at Temple for personal reasons but said she hopes to return next fall.
“[It] feels almost like a more difficult version of high school while living at home,” Katz said.
“I miss being at Temple every day and visit as often as possible, so while it is extremely difficult in transition, I am working hard to get out of Bucks County and back to Temple,” Katz added.
She said she loves Main Campus’ diversity and added she feels as though there’s always something to do in the bustling location while being only a short commute to her home. Not only did she say she wanted to transfer back, but Katz is working hard to ensure her credits will transfer, too.
The number of students transferring to Temple is rising, especially over the past two years. As stated on Temple’s Public Information website, more than 2,800 students transferred to the university in Fall 2010 compared to the 2,600 students in 2008. Transfer students have found Temple’s campus to be economically advantageous.
“Many of our transfer students come to Temple from our local community college partners with the advantage of scholarship through our Dual Admissions programs and with recognition of their completed course work through program-to-program and GenEd-to-GenEd agreements,” said Karin Mormando, the undergraduate director of admissions.
“Four new Dual Admissions agreements with community colleges in Northeastern [Pennsylvania] will be signed in 2011.”
Thomas Palaia, a sophomore who transferred to Temple in Fall 2010 as a marketing major, found Temple offered a cheaper tuition rate than his original college pick, Arizona State University.
“[Temple] worked out better financially for my family, while [ASU] was very expensive and far from home,” Palaia said.
Although he said he enjoyed the Arizona weather, he said he loves Philadelphia’s urban environment and transportation accessibility. Besides some of his credits that didn’t transfer, Palaia didn’t experience any major struggles during the transition.
“I was familiar with the environment, so it made it easier to adjust quickly,” he said.
Jessica Pavelka, a junior psychology major transferred to Temple in Fall 2009. After attending Western Connecticut State University her freshman year, Pavelka said she was looking for a school that had more to offer.
“I realized I needed more,” Pavelka said. She said she loves Temple’s emphasis on the arts and Division I sports teams and found Temple’s large range of degree programs useful when trying to find a major that better fit her personality.
“I was ready for a bigger student body, and most importantly, the school spirit,” Pavelka said.
During her transition, however, Pavelka found the housing situation to be a burden. Fortunately, after being hesitant about moving into Kardon-Atlantic Terminal Building with four random girls, she learned to love her new roommates.
“I had warming roommates and connected with one really well, and we are [currently] roommates,” Pavelka said.
She added that she hopes to see Temple hold more “meet-and-greets” in the future.
“We work hard to make the transfer process seamless for new students, recognizing the importance of their course work completed elsewhere,” Mormando said.
Sarah D’Agostino can be reached at email@example.com.