Transfers Attempt to ‘Catch Up’

Students Express Frustration Over Policy


Published: October 25, 2007FORDHAM—Among this year’s incoming classes at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) and Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH), 12 percent of new students were transfers, according to Donald Gillespie, associate vice president for Institutional Research at Fordham. While this year’s freshmen can roughly anticipate graduating in the spring of 2011, many transfers have less certainty in determining when they will graduate. Students say Fordham’s required core curriculum and credit-transferring policy may be to blame.

“They tell me 2009, but I have a feeling they’re going to try to hold me longer,” said Sherri Eldin, FCLC ’09, who transferred to FCLC this semester from Manhattan College. Eldin said she was able to transfer 60 credits, but lost 17. “I worked hard, took summer classes at my past school and lost it all,” she said.

Sixty credits is the maximum number of credits accepted by Fordham, said Jason Greif, assistant dean for juniors and transfers at FCLC. Greif said he does not know the policies at other colleges, but he said, “Most schools want you to take half of your classes with them so that it’s their degree.”

In terms of which courses are transferable, Greif said courses should be three or more credits, be similar to a course offered at Fordham and must have a grade of C or better. Transfer students meet with Greif and review course descriptions and course syllabi to determine if a course can be transferred.

Greif said there are two different kinds of credits that can be transferred: core and elective. “In terms of major credit, I have nothing to do with that. They have to meet with the actual departments,” he said.

“Fordham needs to re-evaluate their policies on credit transferring,” said Fallon Mulerman, FCLC ’10, a sophomore transfer this semester from Quinnipiac University. “About nine—possibly nine, at this point—credits were not transferred,” she said. “I was surprised.”

Jes Campbell, FCLC ’09, said Fordham was very helpful in accepting credits and matching classes. Campbell transferred this semester from Orange Coast College in California. She said she had 89 credits, and Fordham accepted the maximum 60.

Still, Campbell said she is unsure of her graduation date. “Hopefully spring of 2009,” she said. “But this means that I will be taking summer courses and a full course load for the next three semesters.”

According to data provided by Gillespie, 73.8 percent of transfer students who entered as full-time, degree-seeking students in the fall of 2000 graduated within four years. None took six years to graduate.

“I have not measured graduation rates for transfers for periods of less than four years,” Gillespie said. “In addition, I do not have direct evidence of time-to-degree for transfer students.”

Campbell said she will be playing “catch up” for a semester or two due to Fordham’s “demanding” core curriculum. “As a junior, I would prefer to be enrolled in courses relevant to my major,” she said. “However, I cannot do this yet. That’s frustrating.”

Transfer students are required to complete the same core curriculum required of regular students, with the exception of the freshman seminar, Greif said. “I know it’s frustrating for students who come in,” Greif added. “At the same time, I find students haven’t looked at the core before coming here.”

In terms of how often transfer students end up adding extra time to their undergraduate careers to complete their degrees, Greif said, “A good number of students have catching up to do, whether it’s in core classes, major classes, or credits. There’s general catching up to do.”

Greif said it depends on the courses taken and the school the student is transferring from. He added, “If students feel like they’re not clear why something didn’t transfer, I’m open to talk about it.”

Gillespie added, “I have no evidence to suggest that transfer students are delayed beyond the expected time.” He also provided data to show that Fordham’s graduation rates for transfer students are approximately seven points higher than the average rates for SUNY, CUNY, proprietary and other independent institutions.

Still, many transfer students say their undergraduate careers have been extended beyond four years. Amanda Moschetti, FCLC ’10, said she will be taking summer courses to ensure she graduates in 2010, but she would be graduating in 2009 if she had not transferred.

Moschetti transferred from Butler University in Indiana. She said approximately 12 core credits and 15 elective credits were transferred, out of 63 she had earned. She also said she believes Fordham’s credit-transferring policy should be changed. “They should consider one or two credit courses from other schools and accept middle college credits.”

Moschetti added that she doesn’t mind the extra time. “It gives me more time to think about what I want to do.” But she said the extra money and paying back her loans in the future is a concern.

“College credits and transferring them is not fun,” Campbell said. “But all schools have similar policies.” Campbell added that she is disappointed she will not be able to study abroad because those credits would need to be transferred, and she already transferred the maximum 60 credits allowed.

Campbell said she does not like the policies, “but I definitely don’t hold it against Fordham.”