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TransferBOOST (Bachelor’s Opportunity Options that are Straightforward and Transparent)

Published Apr 2023


TransferBOOST (Bachelor’s Opportunity Options that are Straightforward and Transparent) is a multi-year state-level initiative developed to provide students with affordable, quality, well-supported two- to four-year pathways.

Beginning in 2021, the Institute for Higher Education Policy and HCM Strategists launched the TransferBOOST initiative to address challenges with transfer student recruitment and pathways to degree completion. Participating institutions from twenty-four colleges and universities across three states – Arizona, Illinois and Virginia – partnered to better reach community college students with simple, clear messaging about affordable transfer pathways. They also examined transfer policies and practices to ensure they meet the needs of today’s students.

IHEP’s latest series of research briefs share lessons learned for policymakers and institutional leaders. Learn how to support affordable and equitable transfer pathways through partnerships, strategic finance, and policy change by reading our three research briefs below.


BOOSTing Transfer Partnerships to Promote Equitable and Affordable Transfer Pathways

For every 100 students who enroll in community colleges, 31 students transfer to a four-year institution. Of those, only 15 complete a bachelor’s degree within six years. Too many students are derailed from their higher education goals by unexpected, unaffordable, and untenable—yet solvable—challenges along their transfer journey. A key element of TransferBOOST was the student-centered, data-informed, and equity-driven partnership between community colleges and four-year institutions. The first brief in the series showcases key policy and practice takeaways from the initiative.


BOOSTing Transfer Pathways through Strategic Finance and Affordability

Affordability matters a great deal for
transfer students, but it has typically not been understood or prioritized. The IHEP and HCM teams joined forces with rpk GROUP to offer technical assistance to TransferBOOST institutions and state partners
to make strategic finance and college affordability a signature feature of the initiative. The second brief in the series outlines the steps partnerships took and offers guidance on how institutions can use the Transfer Affordability Financial Tool. It also provides clear steps for how states can support institutions in improving transfer affordability.



To help institutions and state partners strengthen transfer pathways, IHEP and HCM Strategists partnered with rpk GROUP to build the TransferBOOST Affordability Financial Tool. This tool helps colleges and universities evaluate the expenditures and resources needed to build more affordable transfer pathways. The tool also provides the potential financial return on investment to colleges and universities from increased student enrollment, retention, and completion through transfer, which in turn helps institutions determine the investments they can make to support the equitable success of transfer students.

Learn how to maximize the impact of the tool and download it below.

BOOSTing Student Success Through Equitable and Affordable Transfer Pathways

On average, 43 percent of credits are lost nationwide through the transfer process. Recognizing that today’s students strive to make good use of their time and money, the TransferBOOST initiative worked to ensure that credits transfer and apply seamlessly from a two-year to four-year institution. The third brief in the series shares lessons learned for higher education policymakers and practioners from the TransferBOOST initiative. The 24 institutions that worked to improve equitable transfer student outcomes during the TransferBOOST initiative have helped formulate lessons that other community college and four-year institutions, state partners for higher education, and leaders might use to increase prospective and current student trust in higher education as well as increase enrollment, retention, and completion.


About TransferBOOST

TransferBOOST is part of ECMC Foundation’s Catalyzing Transfer Initiative (CTI), a national shared learning and collaboration effort between high-impact non-profit organizations that aims to build, manage, and activate new ways to increase successful transfer of postsecondary credits and timely bachelor’s degree completion among marginalized racial and ethnic groups.