With more than 60,000 students transferring each year, Illinois has a long history of being heavily invested in statewide transfer systems. In 1998, the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) was created, which is an agreement that General Education courses are transferable and accepted among more than 100 participating institutions. A way to communicate this information was needed, and so began their journey to centralize and publicize transfer information to students.
Providing a centralized place for transfer information so students wouldn’t be frustrated.
Recent data shows that more than one third of college students transfer at least once within six years. This presents a unique challenge for institutions who want to recruit and retain students, knowing that inevitably many of them will complete their degree elsewhere. To add to the problem, students were frustrated that some of their courses were not transferring as expected, resulting in wasted time and money. While the state of Illinois requires community college AA and AS degrees must be transferrable to four-year institutions, students lacked an easy way to locate information about which courses were transferable.
Students were frustrated that some courses were not transferring as expected, resulting in wasted time and money.
Transfer advisement happens at the two-year level, where community colleges often lack resources.
“The norm is that most transfer advising happens at the two-year (schools),” said Dena Lawrence, Illinois MyCreditsTransfer Coordinator. However, community colleges often do not have the same resources as universities.
“A lot of students don’t know yet what they want to major in or where they want to go. Their advisors are trying to help them build a transferfriendly package of courses that will help them accomplish degree goals. Transferology is really important in that effort.”
– Dena Lawrence, Illinois MyCreditsTransfer Coordinator
License and implement a third party solution to centralize transfer information.
The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) initially purchased u.select licenses (which was Transferology’s predecessor) for 19 public institutions and the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI). Licensing the IAI separately provided a place for advisors from community colleges to access the staff-facing tools in Transferology Lab. Further, community college advisors were able to use the student-facing Transferology application to research which courses were transferable to four-year institutions and document that transferability to meet state regulations. The launch of Transferology was the catalyst that spurred larger adoption in Illinois, adding an additional 18 institutions in just a few years. Illinois now has 38 public and private schools, plus the IAI, participating in the network.
Dedicated full-time staff to focus on training and educating faculty about transfer issues.
Due to the scale of the effort, Illinois decided it was important to educate and train faculty, staff, and students to effectively use the tools within Transferology. The IBHE dedicated two full-time staff members to ensure the implementation of Transferology was successful and that the resource continues to be utilized. By selecting personnel that know how to use the product and understand transfer and transfer data, students and institutions are better served.
Transferology provides a centralized location for transfer information that’s free and effective for students to plan.
Participation in the Transferology network at the statewide level has provided a consistent and reliable experience for students and faculty in Illinois. There are several institutions— most notably University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, University of Illinois Chicago, and Western Illinois University—who now refer all initial transfer inquiries to Transferology. This allows them to do away with hard copy or PDF transfer guides that are time-consuming to maintain and update.
In 2016, students used Transferology to search for more than 140,000 replacement courses.
Students no longer waste time or money taking courses that do not apply toward a degree.
With so many participating institutions, students can easily and conveniently plan for transfer. The Find a Replacement Course feature, which enables students to search for courses that transfer back to their home institution, is extremely popular in Illinois. For instance, a student may need a prerequisite to stay on track to complete a degree, but also need to take the course at a community college near home over the summer break. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had over 10,000 Find a Replacement Course searches during April 2016 alone. Universities that employ uAchieve® for degree reporting and planning, like many in Illinois, can also utilize Transferology to enable students to “run a program” and think beyond transfer to applicability and degree completion.