As Grand Valley State University announces more and more expansion projects each month on both the Allendale and Pew campuses, it’s clear that the university is extended beyond it’s initial reach.

With 15 public four-year universities, and 28 public two-year community colleges in the state of Michigan, transfer agreements that bridge the gap between one campus and another are becoming increasingly important at the administration seeks to attract a larger, more diverse student body.

The agreements, which GVSU have so far signed with seven community colleges in the state, have helped lead to an increase in transfer students over the past ten years, according to numbers provided by the university’s institutional analysis.

In 2002, 6.8 percent of the total headcount of 20,407 students was comprised of transfer students which totaled 849 students.

Last semester, enrollment for the university sat at 24,654 students and of that, 7.1 percent or 1,251, consisted of transfer students from other colleges and universities around the state and the nation.

But how is the university able to attract these students? How has GVSU been able to see a 47 percent increase in transfer students in a matter of ten years?

With the help of these transfer programs, and the willingness for the university to send out admissions staff to community colleges in the area to talk to encourage thinking about transferring to GVSU, the university has continued to see a positive trend in transferring students.

While having students tranferring from other four-year institutions is less common with only 508 in 2012 compared to 539 in 2002, these numbers are more likely to have hit a plateau because of the amount of students who stay at a four-year institution to obtain a bachelor’s degree or continue on to graduate school elsewhere.

Making the transtition from a community college to a four-year university can be difficult enough without having to worry about whether or not your credits will transfer so by simplifying the process for local students, GVSU has taken a step in the right direction. Of the 28 community colleges in the state, students transferred to GVSU from 22 of the community colleges and also from 15 four-year institutions within the state of Michigan alone.

Whether it is through the visits to campus, the breakfasts hosted for community college counselors, or the recruiting through community college student organizations, the steps GVSU is taking is making a difference and is drawing fresh faces to our expanding campus.

Not only is the university bringing in fresh faces, according to GVSU’s Bonnie Ulmer-DeGraves, associate director of Admissions, transfer students “bring another set of experiences to the campus that will enhance the Grand Valley community.”