Dear four-year universities, transfer students deserve a chance too

April 2021 Satire Issue

Kaitlyn Bloemer, Some say she’s still trying to figure out a hilarious job title

Graduation day for Lake Land is slowly creeping up on its current sophomores. The biggest decision on our shoulders now is to choose a four-year university to transfer to if we didn’t complete a workforce ready program. And if anyone out there is like me, they are looking to save money moving forward. My degree is in Elementary Education, so I know that I am not going to be making a huge chunk of change right off the bat. Saving money is one of my top priorities as I search for my next school, because it would be financially unwise to pay thousands of dollars for a degree that I can’t afford in my career afterwards. However, it has become increasingly difficult to find four-year universities that offer high dollar scholarship amounts to transfer students. There are hardly any in Illinois that offer a full tuition scholarship to transfer students, rather, they only offer them to first years. If anything, the scholarship amounts are low, ranging anywhere from $500 to $2,000 for transfers. While any money is good money, $2,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of tuition for most four-year universities. Four-year colleges should definitely be providing more opportunities for transfer students to earn their college degree tuition free. 

First and foremost, some students need a junior college, like Lake Land, to get themselves on the right track. A lot of us come from small schools with small classes and can’t adjust to a four-year right away. Four-years tend to be a bigger adjustment, with large class sizes and an enormous campus. We choose a great community college to help us keep our grades high and help us adjust to college life, not necessarily because we don’t want to attend a four-year school. Going to a community college first should show that we are smart with our academics and that we know what is going to help us succeed. Restricting transfer students from getting aid in the cost of a four-year school is only going to turn us away from the school in general. 

Not to mention that sometimes a community college is more cost-effective. I will use my own situation as an example. My college is coming out of my own pocket, which includes books, fees, housing, commute, etc. After achieving the Presidential Scholarship from Lake Land, and knowing I could live at home with no bills, it was a no brainer for me to attend here, not to mention I loved Lake Land as a school in general. Punishing those for not choosing a four-year right away is unfair. Just because I could have maybe gotten a scholarship to cover my tuition at a four-year as a freshman doesn’t mean I could have afforded the fees, books, parking and housing at the time. It was still financially better for me to start my college journey close to home. Not offering a large number of decent sized scholarships could hamper a lot of transfer student’s financial health after leaving their four-year school. Giving the students a chance to prove that they are great students and earn their tuition through scholarships just as you would a freshman would improve the financial situation of thousands as they graduate and enter into a career. Plus, it may help encourage those to enter fields, such as education, that are desperate for workers yet pay a little less. Knowing that they can leave school without any debt would be a great motivator for transfer students to enter these fields. 

Lastly, still offering these full tuition or high dollar scholarships for transfer students can be a fantastic motivator for them to not only keep their grades up in school, but also get involved in their community college campus. Competing for scholarships and building a résumé was one of the reasons I got involved in Lake Land’s campus life. It also gave me a reason to work extremely hard in my classes, especially in this virtual format, where students’ motivation is a bit lower than usual. Giving transfer students the opportunity to earn their degree debt-free will draw exceptional, motivated and talented students willing to get involved onto a four-year campus. 

These are just a few reasons four-years need to provide transfer students with better scholarship opportunities. They are missing out on a large pool of students who could provide a million assets to their campus. Furthermore, some of us need to attend a community college first to help us start on the right foot. Providing us with fewer opportunities to earn our degree debt-free after working so hard the first two years is making it more challenging than ever to graduate without loans.

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