On April 3, Bradley signed a formal transfer agreement with Illinois Central College. The Scout believes this choice will ultimately be beneficial for the university, and will help fill gaps in enrollment numbers.
According to the Bradley University statistical profile, the university brought in 194 transfer students in the fall of 2018, which is 16 less students than budgeted. This number was lower than the past 5-year average of 232 transfer students. In the fall of 2017, there were 245 transfer students.
In an email sent out by university president Gary Roberts in October, Bradley experienced quite a dip in enrollment coming into this year, causing an operating deficit between $4.5 and $5.7 million. Low number in transfer student is part of the problem along with a low freshmen and graduate enrollment and upper-class retention rate.
This ICC agreement is a proposed solution to the problem, and we commend the university for strengthening this partnership to increase enrollment.
The agreement helps prepare and align ICC student schedules with the Bradley Core Curriculum so that the transfer process will be smoother. This also means the university will be more involved with ICC students earlier on, possibly right when they enter their freshman year.
Clearly, each student below the budgeted number has a significant impact.
According to provost Walter Zakahi, the university gains about 100 of its transfer students per year from ICC already; this is about half of the total population of transfers.
If such a large portion of students are already coming from ICC, it makes sense that Bradley would try to align the curriculums. Overall, it would increase the transfer students’ chances to succeed.
Given the issues with enrollment this year, The Scout believes this partnership is truly a step in the right direction. We also think Bradley should consider setting up similar agreements with other community colleges in the region.