Many students each year transfer from one college to another and historically this has been a challenge as students strive to attain their higher education goals. To further study and monitor student transfer rates and progress, the Illinois Board of Higher Education charged the Shared Data Committee to add elements to the Shared Enrollment System that will allow Illinois agencies to track student movement across colleges/universities. However, the Committee believed that more research was needed on student transfer issues to be able to recommend those elements that should be added to the data system. As such, a Subcommittee on Transfer Credit was given responsibility to identify and pursue further research on Illinois student transfer to inform the larger Committee and IBHE on possible additional elements to include in the data tracking system.
In Fall 2007, the subcommittee contracted researchers at the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University to investigate student transfer. The purpose of this study was to collect exploratory data on the issues students encounter as they transfer from one college to another. To do this, researchers at Illinois State University conducted three focus groups and individual telephone interviews with transfer students at four Illinois institutions of higher education – two in Chicago, and one each in central Illinois and Southern Illinois — at both public and private universities.