The Changing Patterns of College-to-University Transfer: Examination of Ontario’s Graduate Satisfaction Survey 2007-2015

U. McCloy
M. Steffler
H. Decock
Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology
Reference Number
The ability of Ontario college students to transfer credits to the university sector in Ontario has been an ongoing issue for many years. Progress toward a more seamless postsecondary education system has been slow and steady (CRSM, 2015), culminating in the announcement in 2011 by Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) of a new provincial credit transfer framework, committing $73.7 million over five years. This report describes provincial trends in college transfer to university using data from the Ontario College Graduate Satisfaction Survey (GSS) for the years 2007 to 2015. The study tracked the volume of graduates moving between college and university, and their characteristics and experience of transfer. Of the 694,379 graduates, 444,451 participated in the GSS, for an average response rate of 64%. The research questions include: 1. What are the trends in transfer to further education after graduation? a. Which institutions and programs are college graduates choosing? Has the distribution changed among institutions, credentials or programs? b. Are graduates entering programs that more closely align with their college credential? Has the amount of reported transfer credit changed? c. What is the student profile of college graduates who transfer? d. Why do college graduates transfer to university? e. What information sources on transfer are graduates using? 2. Are college transfers to university satisfied with their academic preparation and transition experience? 3. What factors, including socioeconomic and transfer-specific characteristics, influence the transfer rate and satisfaction with the transition experience? The study incorporates new variables including disability and Aboriginal self-identity to test whether students who are under-represented in the direct entry pathway to university, are also underrepresented in the college-to-university transfer pathway. The first section of this report shows the full complement of transfer pathways for all college graduates. The remaining sections focus on transfer to university programs for college graduates of one-year certificate and two-and three-year diploma programs, excluding college degree and graduate certificate programs.