Hitting an all-time record in 2010, the number of transfer students to the four Connecticut state universities has increased by 43 percent since 2005, totaling 3,150 students, according to the Connecticut State University System website.
Bernard Kavaler, assistant vice chancellor for Public Affairs of the Connecticut State University System Office, said Southern has the most transfers with 1,101 incoming students.
“Business and education fields have attracted more interest,” said Kavaler.
The Connecticut State University System institutions include Central in New Britain, Eastern in Willimantic, Southern in New Haven and Western in Danbury, the CSUS website says. According to the website, in 2010, 49.5 percent of the CSUS transfer students came from a Connecticut community college.
“A lot of [the students] start outside of Connecticut, then decide to come back to the state,” said Kavaler. “It could be a combination of factors.”
The website says 29 percent of students transferred to the Connecticut state schools from out-of-state colleges and 81 percent of those students are Connecticut residents that came back. Kavaler said 93 percent of all transfer students to the state schools are Connecticut residents.
He said there are a range of programs drawing students to the universities such as forensic science, criminal justice and cooperative education programs.
The programs drawing “particular interest” that have been added over the years include engineering at Central, accounting and business administration at Southern and
environmental energy programs at Eastern, according to Kavaler.
The CSUS website says the number of transfers has increased by 35 percent in the past decade by about 500 students.
Kavaler said the attractiveness of programs, the economy, work demands and the schools being more affordable than other colleges are all contributing factors to the increase of transfers.
“A number of programs are responsive to student interest and work force needs,” said Kavaler, “and the needs of the state have grown stronger.”
Kavaler said the Connecticut state schools collaborate with the Connecticut community colleges and Southern works with Gateway for transfer credits.
The CSUS site says more than half of the 1,558 community college transfers came from the institutions of Manchester, with 262 students, Naugatuck Valley with 209, Gateway with 208 and Norwalk with 153. It says the number of students transferring from Connecticut community colleges increased from 1,091 students in 2005 to 1,558 in 2010.
Behind Southern with the most incoming transfers is Central with 963 students, Eastern with 563 and Western with 523, according to Kavaler.
Amanda Targowski, a senior, said nearly all of her friends who went to college out-of-state ended up transferring to a state school in Connecticut.
“I transferred to Southern from Florida because I was homesick,” said Targowski, “and Southern had the least expensive tuition out of all the schools I was accepted to.”
She said there were no specific programs that stood out to her, but “it was basically the low tuition.”
“I think the distance is better for me,” said Targowski, “because it allows me to still live at home and work a normal job while I commute to school.”
The CSUS site says the Connecticut state schools and community colleges have stepped up collaborative programs in “recent years,” including a Dual Admission Program established a year ago, which has improved the transfer of course credits for students earning an associates degree.
Kavaler said across CSUS, the “transfer breakdown” by gender is 56 percent female and 44 percent male. He said the age of student transfers is dispersed and they usually transfer within the first two years of education.
“Transferring,” said Targowski, “was relatively painless, thankfully. The people in the Wintergreen building were so incredibly helpful when I first transferred, they made the process very easy on me.”
According to the CSUS site, 43 percent of the record-setting 7,005 undergraduate degrees and certificates from the state schools went to students who transferred.
The site said 86 percent of graduating students remain in the state to “pursue their careers, raise families and contribute to the state’s economic vitality and civic life.”