Transfer Students: A sizable source of Undergraduate Prospects

Can blockchain unleash the value in Community Colleges

As many enrollment officials are well aware, transfer students often face lukewarm reception on four-year campuses. They sometimes struggle to get answers to basic enrollment questions and are too frequently the last in line for course registration. These unfortunate realities signal a lingering misconception that transfer students are somehow less desirable than students who originate their educational journeys at four-year institutions.

Our research indicates, however, that four-year schools should actively recruit and embrace transfer students—the great wealth of them. Four million community college students that intend to transfer to four-year institutions fall out of the transfer pipeline each year. This number is particularly troubling in light of recent, pervasive institutional struggles to meet enrollment and net tuition revenue goals.

Fortunately, we have found that enrollment managers can increase campus enthusiasm for serving transfer students by communicating their contributions on four-year campuses.

Differentiated undergraduate enrollments

The population growth that once fueled enrollment is gone for the foreseeable future. The number of high school graduates dropped between 2010 and 2014, increasing competition for prospective undergraduate enrollments. Although growth rates have since rebounded, they will proceed at a slower rate. Institutions must look to non-traditional student segments to differentiate enrollment sources and meet enrollment goals.

Community Colleges: A sizable source of undergraduate prospects

Transfer Student Graphic_3

As shown above, 12.4 million undergraduate students are enrolled at community colleges; of these, nearly six million indicate intent to transfer to a four-year college or university—more than double the size of prospective first-time, full-time students looking to enroll at four-year institutions.

Bolstered tuition revenues

A combination of increasingly cost-conscious consumers, demographic shifts, and declines in public funding make meeting tuition revenue targets both more difficult and more important than ever before. As a result, many institutions are struggling to maintain the tuition revenue growth rates required for financial sustainability.

Many universities mistakenly perceive community college transfer students as disproportionately low-income and in need of greater financial support. But a comparison of two- and four-year entering cohorts reveals that transfer students have:

  • Stable family incomes: Community college transfer students are primarily middle income, with 21 percent falling within the highest income quartile.
  • Outsized revenue potential: Transfer students tend to yield higher tuition revenue per capita and are often less price-sensitive than first-time, full-time students given the money saved by first enrolling at a community college.

Increased campus diversity

Four-year institutions have long-held commitments to diversity and access, but demographic trends only intensify four-year access concerns: the fastest-growing student segments are most likely to enroll in a community college. African American and Hispanic students, for example, are more likely to attend a two-year institution than other racial and ethnic groups. Universities may need to increase their investments in community college transfer to achieve equal access to a four-year education for all student segments.

African American and Hispanic students more likely to attend a community college

Race and ethnic percentages at two- and four-year institutions, 2013

Transfer STudent Graphic 2

Supported student success

Administrators across higher education have been calling student success a “top priority” for years, but pressures to improve success are growing. Community college transfer students, especially those with associate’s degrees, have already demonstrated persistence. As illustrated below, a transfer student is more likely to graduate than a peer who started at the four-year institution. High transfer completion rates ensure both a steady tuition stream as well as continued access to government funding in an increasingly performance-based environment.

Six-year graduation rates by class and sector, 2000-2010

Transfer Student Graphic

Transfer students from community colleges have already begun their college experience and, for most, any remedial work has been completed at the two-year institution. Investments by four-year institutions in the preparation and pathing of community college students to a four-year degree will only further improve their likelihood to succeed.

To gain competitive advantage as “transfer-friendly,” four-year institutions must promulgate awareness across university communities that transfer students are valuable—even vital—to the future of their schools: Transfer students enrich campus life with a more diverse and persistent student population that can also bolster enrollment and net tuition revenue metrics.

#Blockchain in brief: Ways it can transform #HigherEd

new report from the European Commission sets out eight different scenarios for the application of blockchain technologies in education administration. In this blog post, the IT Forum explores the potential for some of these scenarios to disrupt status quo models for colleges and universities in North America.

by Danielle Yardy

Despite the hype, blockchain’s transactional speeds are still far too slow for global financial management. Bitcoin currently operates at just 0.01% of the efficiency of Visa for transaction clearance—and it uses 35 times as much energy to do so. But for slower transactional environments like higher education, the potential applications are diverse. In blockchain technologies, each “block” in a given “chain” represents a timestamped transaction relating to an asset with real-world value. Blocks cannot be changed, and are stored in perpetuity.


For colleges and universities, this technology presents various opportunities to transform the way that educational value is both recorded and transmitted. Here are six we think could make a stir soon:

1. Using a blockchain for automatic recognition and transfer of credits

What it looks like: Educational institutions award credits for completed courses on a custom blockchain built specifically for those credits. Implementation would require a credit standard, a custom blockchain, and sufficient community agreement to ensure immutability.

Why it matters: The decline in first-time, first-year student enrollments is having a real financial impact on a number of institutions across the United States and focusing on transfer students (a pool of prospects twice as large) has become an important strategy for many. But credit articulation presents a real challenge for institutions bringing in students from community colleges. While setting standardized articulation requirements across the nation presents a high hurdle, blockchain-supported initiatives may hold great promise for university and city education systems looking to streamline educational mobility in their communities.

2. Blockchains for tracking intellectual property and rewarding use and re-use of that property

What it looks like: Educators and researchers use blockchain to announce the publication of educational resources and record references used. Copyright is notarized at the date of publication and later re-use can be tracked for impact assessments.

Why it matters: Despite increasing demand for academic research to break out of the ivory tower (including mandates for publicly-funded projects), current citation tracking and research is severely limited by the intermediary role played by the journal industry. If researchers were able to publish openly and accurately assess the use of their resources, the access-prohibitive costs of academic book and journal publications could be circumvented, whether for research- or teaching-oriented outputs. Accurately tracking the sharing of knowledge without restrictions has transformative potential for open-education models.

3. Using verified sovereign identities for student identification within educational organizations

What it looks like: Students receive certification for their identity upon admission, which they use to identify themselves to any other areas of the institution without further need for storing personal data again.

Why it matters: The data footprint of higher education institutions is enormous. With FERPA regulations as well as local and international requirements for the storage and distribution of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), maintaining this data in various institutional silos magnifies the risk associated with a data breach. Using sovereign identities to limit the proliferation of personal data promotes better data hygiene and data lifecycle management and could realize significant efficiency gains at the institutional level.

4. Using a blockchain as a lifelong learning passport

What it looks like: Individuals store evidence of learning amassed from various sources, with verification of receipt/completion stored to a personal blockchain. This digital identity would allow users to upload their educational claims and submit them to providers for verification.

Why it matters: Changes in educational delivery methodologies are accelerating. Educational institutions and private businesses partner with online course delivery giants to extend the reach of their educational services and priorities. Traditional educational routes are increasingly less normal and in this expanding world of providers, the need for verifiable credentials from a number of sources is growing. Producing a form of digitally “verifiable CVs” would limit credential fraud, and significantly reduce organizational workload in credential verification.

5. Using blockchains to permanently secure certificates

What it looks like: Institutions replace public key certification infrastructures with digital signatures to permanently authenticate issued certificates. The open source solution Blockcerts already enables signed certificates to be posted to a blockchain and supports the verification of those certificates by third parties. Institutions and graduates must secure the physical or digital certificates, but the capacity for verification becomes eternal.

Why it matters: When an institution issues official transcripts, obtaining copies can be expensive and burdensome for graduates. But student-owned digital transcripts put the power of secure verification in the hands of learners, eliminating the need for lengthy and costly transcripts to further their professional or educational pursuits. An early mover, Central New Mexico Community College, debuted digital diplomas on the blockchain in December of 2017.

6. Using blockchains to verify multi-step accreditation

What it looks like: Verification by accreditation organizations that is stamped to the same blockchain as certificates marks a two-step authentication: Not only was the certificate issued by the stated institution at the given time, but at that same time, the institution was accredited by the signatory organization.

Why it matters:  As different accreditors recognize different forms of credentials and a growing diversity of educational providers issue credentials, checking the ‘pedigree’ of a qualification can be laborious. Turning a certification verification process from a multi-stage research effort into a single-click process will automate many thousands of labor hours for organizations and institutions.

While the use of blockchain technology is nascent in higher education, continued developments and their applications demand CIOs’ attention. To realize its full potential in education, open implementations will be crucial. Undoubtedly, vendors will attempt to establish proprietary platforms to protect their interests and CIOs must raise awareness of the limits of such partnerships among campus leadership before these developments proceed too far. Blockchain offers an opportunity to transform the administration of higher education from the inside. Institutions must be at the forefront of these endeavors to ensure they are effective.

#studentforceits all about the platform

4 Things Experts Want You to Know About #Blockchain in #HigherEd

The electronic ledger software holds a lot of potential for university data.

Though cryptocurrencies like bitcoin seem to have an uncertain future, the same can’t be said about blockchain, the electronic ledger and database technology used to store them.

At universities, blockchain is poised to help in aspects of data management, credentialing and research. From boosting security to enhancing access, the e-ledger tool has a lot of possibility.

Here are four ways experts think blockchain has a place in higher education:

1. All Learning Experiences Become Trackable

The higher education experience is different for every student and experts believe that blockchain could create a better way to track it. With students transferring from other institutions and with the rise of micro credentials, Phil Komarny, vice president of innovation at Salesforce and former chief digital officer at the University of Texas, tells EdSurge that blockchain could allow students to keep all of their credentials in one place and truly “own” their proof of learning.

EAB, an educational research board that specializes in data, reports in a blog that using blockchain for credentials could entice students from community colleges to transfer to universities because their educational experience would be automatically recognized.

2. Students’ Credentials Could Be More Accessible

With a blockchain record of their education, students are able to package informal and formal learning experiences to share with prospective employers.

“Until now, institutions have been the primary owner of transcripts and educational records,” says Veronica Diaz, director of professional learning at EDUCAUSE, in an EdTech article. “Blockchain affords the ability for students to display, assemble and augment learning experiences in a way that’s more appealing to employers.”

Generally, students will want to track their education in blockchain because they understand its ability to help tell employers exactly what they’ve learned, Aparna Krishnan, a University of California, Berkeley student and head of the Blockchain at Berkeley student group, tells EdSurge.

Roberto Santana, advisor to product and strategy at BitDegree, tells EdSurge that blockchain will also make it harder for students to list fraudulent credentials when applying for jobs.

3. More Secure Data Creates Opportunities

Komarny tells EdTech that blockchain can ease data management by adding security, and in turn, create more possibilities and empower innovation.

“Part of blockchain’s benefit is it creates this trust that’s layered into what we do,” he says in the article. “That gives us the ability to think differently about all policies and procedures. You start to look at the constraints that have been put in place because of the way the architecture was. We’re really changing the story.”

4. Researchers Could Boost Open Education

Blockchain can drive innovation for university researchers as well. EAB reports that if researchers use blockchain to announce the publication of educational resources, they can notarize copyright at the date of publication and later track reuse of materials.

This process would make the published research more readily available by cutting out the intermediary — often academic books and journal publications — and its costs for viewing the research, EAB notes.

“Accurately tracking the sharing of knowledge without restrictions has transformative potential for open-education models,” reports EAB.

All in all, blockchain allows students, educators, administrators and researchers to explore new possibilities.

Tech Powers Real-Time, Personalized Feedback that Promotes Student Success

Study finds text messages tailored to students’ needs boost retention.

College campuses are often a hotbed for innovation aimed at promoting student success. However, sometimes a simple text message is all it takes to point a struggling student in the right direction.

A trial conducted last summer by Jobs for the Future and Persistence Plus found that community college students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields were 10 percent more likely to stay on track in school if they received personalized text messages that nudged them along.

As part of the trial including nearly 2,000 students at four community colleges, students received personalized text message “nudges” that they said helped them do everything from manage time more efficiently to access financial aid renewal resources.

JFF and Persistence Plus chose STEM majors in particular because attrition rates have been so high in the fields. Community colleges are providing more than half of all postsecondary STEM degrees, according to a study by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, but a 2013 study by the Education Department and National Center for Education Statistics found that more than two-thirds of associate degree candidates in STEM majors don’t complete their degrees.

“Through the use of personal, contextualized communications via text messages, students are more empowered to complete their degrees, colleges experience higher success rates and STEM employers ultimately benefit with a more skilled workforce,” says Maria Flynn, president and CEO of JFF, in the press release.

Facilitating this kind of real-time help is also a big reason why many universities have developed personalized student success initiatives that rely on data to inform interventions. As more universities use data to innovate advising practices, assistance like these text message nudges become more feasible.

SIGN UP: Get more news from the EdTech newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!

Data Powers Real-Time Feedback that Empowers Students

At Temple University’s Fox School of Business, EdTech reports that university leaders have used Microsoft Power BI to create a new kind of report card. Rather than dishing out grades a few times a semester, educators instead access a real-time dashboard to help students cultivate the skills they’ll need to succeed in the workforce.

These real-time insights also help students have more engaging time with advisers to determine the classes they need to become more well-rounded. Using data also helps advisers and educators set up predictive models that allow them to assist students faster than ever before. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas uses data analytics to flag students who are at risk of failing courses so that instructors can step in.

“Typically, the goal is to intervene and get in front of students digitally before they start to perform poorly on tests,” says Matthew Bernacki, an assistant professor of educational psychology at UNLV, in the EdTech article.

In general, real-time feedback, whether it is facilitated through technology or not, can boost personalized learning in the classroom and foster student-teacher communication.

“Real-time feedback makes it much easier to have a meaningful student-professor relationship because you know right away if students are understanding course material or enjoying the content,” Laura McClelland writes in a Top Hat blog.

Thanks to data analytics programs and cloud apps, such as Google Docs, technology will continue to make real-time interventions and feedback easier for those in higher ed.

by Meghan Bogardus Cortez and Published by CDW magazine on February 23, 2017


Students and #HigherEd Leaders Put Their Faith in Online Classes [#Infographic]

As a growing number of students enroll in nontraditional college classes, the value of online education becomes more clear.

As cost-effective alternatives to traditional college classes, online learning programs continue to gain steam in higher ed. According to statistics gathered for an Online Learning Consortium infographic, 5.8 million students are now enrolled in online courses, and the majority put tremendous stock in the quality of their education: 90 percent of students say their online learning experiences are the same or better than in-classroom options.

College and university leadership agrees: The infographic states that 71 percent of academic leaders say learning outcomes for online courses are the same or better than that of face-to-face classes.

Despite the all-around praise for online learning, a survey quoted in the infographic indicates that 4 out of 5 college students feel their professors could be doing more to integrate technology into learning.

Check out the infographic below for more information on the state of online learning opportunities within higher ed.

Written by Meg Conlan, an editor for the CDW family of technology
magazine websites and Published June 2016 by EdTech Magazine.

Higher Ed IT Makes Use of Cloud for Email, Storage, Survey Finds [#Infographic]

Meghan Bogardus Cortez  by Meghan Bogardus Cortez, an associate editor with EdTech.

Cloud use reshapes how university IT manages networks and services.

As universities expand their digital offerings and internet connectivity, cloud has become an even more important tool to promote organization and efficiency. A new survey from Extreme Networks found that 59 percent of network managers — many who service K–12 and higher ed institutions — are using cloud services to support email and 41 percent use it for storage, Campus Technology reports.

“The trend of relocating IT resources to the cloud is both accelerating and broadening to include more traditionally on-premise IT functions,” the survey reports.

Another recent survey found that IT spending in higher education would be driven by investments in cloud. About 81 percent of IT leaders said they plan to increase cloud spending over the next few years.

SIGN UP: Get more news from the EdTech newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!

Cloud Continues to Grow, Drive Efficiencies in HigherEd

The latest Extreme Networks survey found that 17 percent of leaders have already implemented cloud to manage their networks and 45 percent are investigating deploying these solutions.

Leaders cite improved security (76 percent), enhanced access (60 percent) and more efficient management (53 percent) as the reasons for moving various IT services to the cloud, reports Campus Technology

For the University of North Texas, a move to the cloud meant a unification of its three siloed campus IT systems. Using EMC Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, UNT students and staff are now able to access services anywhere and anytime.

For more on how universities are using cloud, take a look at the Extreme Networks infographic below.

The Jump in Video Learning Amplifies Residential Networking Requirements

As more faculty embrace flipped and blended learning, 
institutions must ensure they support the necessary connectivity.

Today’s college dorm room would be nothing without a strong Wi-Fi signal. The “2017 State of ResNet Report” proves that residential hall networking is a growing priority on campus. The study notes that 70.5 percent of institutions have dedicated 1GB of bandwidth or more to residential halls, up from just 25.5 percent in 2012.

TV and video applications, such as Netflix, and rich, web-based content, such as YouTube videos, consume the most bandwidth at higher education institutions, the report says. But entertainment isn’t the only factor driving students to stream more video. Colleges and universities are increasingly integrating video content into coursework, which puts pressure on networking needs.

When the University at Buffalo upgraded its network infrastructure, it did so in part because of its high number of online and hybrid courses that required students to access video content regularly.

SIGN UP: Get more news from the EdTech newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!

Video Inside and Outside of Class Increases

Regardless of the source, it’s clear that video use in higher education is surging. A whopping 99 percent of institutions in Kaltura’s “The State of Video in Education 2017” report that educators regularly incorporate video in their curricula. From lecture capture for distance learning students to blended learning assignments, educators are using video to drive up student engagement.

At Central Michigan University, professor Michael Garver has found success in flipping his marketing classroom. By creating videos of his lectures and then having students view them before attending class, Garver was able to devote class time to more meaningful discussions and critiques.

Nearly half of higher ed faculty indicated in a 2017 survey that they use a flipped learning model. The model leads to greater flexibility and increases accessibility for students who might not be able to focus in a traditional lecture setting.

One study found that teaching university mathematics in a flipped classroom could increase engagement in meaningful ways. For example, students in the flipped classroom found it easier to relate course contents to real-world experiences and to actively participate in the teaching of course content. These students also saw an increase in achievement over their peers.

As more universities find the flipped classroom model to be effective for students, higher levels of connectivity will be required to support the video content students will need to consume before they enter the classroom. If the ResNet report’s increase in residential connectivity is any evidence, clearly this is an area where universities are ready to step up.

This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s UniversITy blog series.

%d bloggers like this: