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Illinois Receives A+ in College Transfer Report


Illinois has moved to the top of its class in a national college transfer report.

Data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows the state is number one for bachelor's degree completion among community college students.

More than half of new Illinois community college students in 2010 who transferred to a four-year college finished a bachelor's degree within six years. Eric Lichtenberger, deputy director of information management and research with the Illinois Board of Higher Education, said what makes the results even more impressive is they don't include students who were enrolled in dual credit courses while in high school.

"Illinois is a national leader in providing dual credit opportunities," Lichtenberger said. "And for the most part dual credit students are significantly more likely than students who don't participate in dual credits to complete degrees within six years."

He attributes the state's success to the Illinois Articulation Initiative, a transfer agreement between more than 100 colleges and universities.

The last time the data was released, Illinois was ranked third behind Washington and Iowa, which it has now surpassed. Lichtenberger said the state is achieving fantastic results while offering a more robust system.

"We do enroll a higher proportion of traditionally under-served students than our out-of-state peer institutions," he said. "We're engaged in a noble mission and our higher education institutions are doing a good job."

Illinois has a nearly 12 percentage point advantage over the national college transfer completion rate, and is well above the national average in all areas measured in the study.