There has been a peak in transfer applications and enrollments in the past three years at Lehigh, prompting Registration and Academic Services to update some of their transfer practices.
The 2019 fall semester saw 29 transfer students enroll, and in fall 2022, this number nearly doubled to 53 transfer enrollments.
Lehigh stands out from national statistics. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found a two-year decrease in transfer students among higher education institutions by 13.5%.
Ashley Baker, associate director of student services, overviews the transfer process and qualifications for awarding transfer credits. Given the influx of transfer applications and enrollments, she said Registration and Academic Services has experienced several challenges.
“There is a lot of manual work (to transfer credits), but we are looking into new ways that we can use some newer options available through Banner, our student information system, to help expedite that,” Baker said.
Baker said Banner Workflow is an automation software that can input transfer credit information into Lehigh’s system, which helps reduce errors and saves time.
Sharan Shankar, ‘25, transferred to Lehigh in fall 2022 from Bryant University. He is majoring in economics with a minor in history.
He said he transferred because he didn’t like the education he was receiving at Bryant, as it is more focused on business and he wanted a more liberal arts education.
Shankar said he has enjoyed his time at Lehigh so far, however, his transfer process presented difficulties.
When registering for classes for the spring 2023 semester, none of Shankar’s transfer credits were displayed on his degree audit. He said he had to call his advisor to get it fixed.
“They probably wouldn’t have done anything unless I said something,” Shankar said. “If I didn’t look, I would’ve been like ‘Oh, I guess I have to take these classes,’ and I probably wouldn’t have graduated on time.”
Lila Brennan, ‘25, transferred to Lehigh in spring 2023 from Bucknell University to major in finance.
She also said she ran into issues with transfer credits, and it took a long time to get academically settled.
“During the first two or three weeks, my entire schedule changed around three times,” Brennan said. “I have all the credits I need to be a sophomore — it’s more a matter of figuring out which credits didn’t transfer that is really frustrating.”
Baker said it can take more time to get certain credits approved because some departments may want to see a syllabus or more in-depth information, but students don’t always have access to their previous institution’s information.
“Departments reviewing courses really want to make sure students have the foundational knowledge they need in order to be successful as they progress through an academic program at Lehigh,” Baker said.
To address this challenge, Baker said the Lehigh community will have access to College Source Online, an online database of nearly 200,000 course catalogs.
The office will also be updating their Argos reporting system, which gathers information from university databases and puts it into a report format so administrators can more easily access transfer student information.
Baker said the office is undergoing a transitional period. They are training new staff on the data entry process and introducing two new positions that will replace the role of deputy provost of academic affairs.
She said the office is looking forward to implementing these organization and staffing changes to more effectively handle the increased demand.
“As an institution, we have to be open and receptive to creating a home for other students who are looking for the right fit for them,” Baker said.
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