Transfer Access to Elite Colleges and Universities in the United States:

Alicia C. Dowd and Glenn Gabbard

As the population of academically talented low-income students at community colleges increases, their rate of transfer to selective colleges and universities is decreasing. From cultural barriers to economic-driven institutional policy, low-income students are increasingly disadvantaged in the pursuit for spots at selective schools.
This study of access to elite, four-year institutions for transfer students addresses the widening education gap between low- and high-income students. To provide opportunity to accomplished students and diversify higher education, the researchers recommend authority figures, administrators, faculty members, and peers support low-income students with information, advising, and encouragement.

Together, highly selective institutions and community colleges have the potential to dramatically increase the number of low-SES (socioeconomic status) transfer students by encouraging talented community college students to apply, raising awareness of financial aid, and working to diminish cultural barriers.