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Transfer Student Acceptance Rates Higher at some Ivy Leagues | This Week in Admission News

10 OCT 2022

The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students with top university ambitions, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. This week Forbes gives an in-depth look at transfer rates for Ivy League universities compared to regular admissions and the PIE News looks at non-EU fees at UK universities. Check back next week to see what’s new and noteworthy in university admissions!


Transfer student acceptance rates higher at some Ivy Leagues than regular admissions, according to a new Forbes report

Forbes looked at the rate of acceptance of transfer students at Ivy League universities compared to regular admissions and came back with some interesting results. While regular acceptance rates at most Ivy Leagues is less than 10%, transfer acceptance is lower than 5%! At five of the Ivies, the rate of accepting transfer students seeking admission was lower - sometimes much lower - than the acceptance rate for first-time freshmen applicants. At the others, transfer acceptance rates were higher than regular admissions.

Forbes used the most recent (2021-22) Common Data Set, posted on the website of each school to check transfer admissions rates. The Common Data Set is a standard form completed by institutions to report on a wide range of indicators such as applications, admissions, transfers, enrollment, retention, financial aid, and graduation. The data include applications and acceptances for first-time, first-year undergraduates as well as for transfer students for Fall, 2021 admissions.

The lowest acceptance rates of transfer students were at Harvard University and Yale University, both which accepted only .8% of applicants. Harvard’s acceptance rate of freshmen applicants was 4% in Fall 2021, and Yales’ was 5.3%. Princeton University accepted 4.4% of its freshmen applicants, versus 1.3% of transfer students seeking admission. Brown University accepted 5.5% of 46,568 first-time, first-year applicants, a bit higher than the 4.3% of 2,746 transfer applicants. At the University of Pennsylvania, 5.9% of freshmen applicants were accepted for admission, compared to 4.6% of transfer applicants.

The three exceptions to this pattern were Dartmouth, Cornell and Columbia. Dartmouth College accepted 6.2% of freshmen applicants, and 9.9% of transfer applicants. At Cornell University, 8.7% of 67,300 freshmen applicants were accepted, significantly less than the 15.7% acceptance rate for its 5,908 transfer applicants. Columbia University’s Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, to which most undergraduates apply, 3.9% of freshmen applicants were accepted, compared to 14.7% of transfer applicants.

Besides the Ivies, plenty of colleges - both public and private - accept a significantly higher percentage of transfer applicants than first-timers. The University of Virginia is an example; so are Vanderbilt University, Emory University, and the University of Florida.

As more institutions work towards increasing access to higher education for underprivileged students, transfer applicants might become a key factor in adding resources for students coming from community colleges or less wealthy institutions.

“Community college transfer students bring a really important perspective to campus,” according to Tania LaViolet, PhD, director of the College Excellence Program (CEP) at the Aspen Institute. “Not only are they more racially and socioeconomically diverse, but they also have more diverse backgrounds in terms of age and life experience.”

Other top stories in admissions news this week:

  1. Times Higher Education released its Impact Rankings 2022 for universities. The overall ranking is led by an Australian institution: Western Sydney University. In second place is the US’s Arizona State University and third is Western University in Canada. The top institutions from an emerging economy are King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia and Universiti Sains Malaysia, in joint fourth place. The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We use carefully calibrated indicators to provide comprehensive and balanced comparison across four broad areas: research, stewardship, outreach and teaching.
  2. Non-EU student fees accounted for 17% of the total income of UK universities in the 2020/21 academic year, The PIE News reported based on a briefing published by The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford. In the same time period, the 600,000 international students enrolled in UK higher education institutions made up 22% of all HE students. The all-time high student migration to the UK hit in 2021 was following the rebound after the “substantial reduction” in international student numbers as a result of the pandemic. According to research from QS in 2021, the UK was seen as a “much more attractive” and “welcoming” destination by prospective students.
  3. Following the announcement by the Biden Administration to cancel certain student loans, the US Department of Education announced that federal student loans not held by the department will no longer be eligible for debt relief, Politico reported. The administration had previously said those borrowers would have a path to receive up to $10,000 or $20,000 of loan forgiveness. Further, a group of six GOP attorneys general sued to block loan forgiveness. The states of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina asked a federal judge to strike down the debt cancellation program, arguing that it’s illegal and unconstitutional.
  4. In application news, the University of California has extended its application filing period by a month. Prospective students will now be able to submit their applications starting Oct. 1, until the application deadline of Nov. 30. And families can also begin filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) in the United States from October 1. 
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