The University of South Florida (USF) will develop an innovative new database that will help streamline the process for students transferring from the Florida College System into USF or other select state universities, potentially resulting in reduced costs, greater access and improved outcomes for students. The database is part of a larger project supported by a four-year, $1.25 million grant from Helios Education Foundation to the Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities, which consists of USF, the University of Central Florida and Florida International University.
The investment in the project allows the three universities to:
- Design a universal course equivalency and sequencing database designed to help students avoid double course credits, maximize applying prior coursework and provide greater opportunities for students to explore readiness for success with their preferred major.
- Create a transfer coaching and advising academy network to help ease “transfer shock” and focus on increasing major readiness for students through aligned training for state college and university professionals.
- Promote retention through targeted student supports identified by the Consortium’s Transfer Success Network.
“The University of South Florida is pleased to participate in this unprecedented level of collaboration with FIU and UCF to collectively advance our transfer student support with new tools, support systems, best practices and resources sharing,” said USF President Steven Currall. “We are especially grateful for this new investment by Helios Education Foundation into the work of the Florida Consortium as they continue to advance both access and success of all students in our state, especially first generation, minority and underserved students.”
The success of transfer students, the majority of whom come from lower-income families or underrepresented populations, is a crucial piece to filling the talent pipeline Florida needs to grow the state’s economy. Every fall nearly 20,000 transfer students enroll at either USF, UCF or FIU, which represents 63% of all transfer students in the State University System. However, transfer students have a 9% less chance of graduating than students who begin their college career at a university and they can also take up to a full year longer to graduate, which underscores the need for innovative new approaches.
As part of the new project, USF’s Information Technology team will lead the development of the database, which will consolidate more than 200,000 approved courses offered at the three universities and 28 state colleges. The resulting dashboard will help to guide students and support staff with an academic planning tool for successful transfer.
The new database and coaching program will be valuable enhancements to the resources already in place for students transferring to USF. In addition to advising prospective and current transfer students, the university’s Office of Transfer Student Success hosts several transfer student organizations, workshops and social events throughout the year, and works with all USF colleges and units to improve pathways to graduation.