Community college students continue to transfer to EWU in large numbers


By Jeremy Burnham, Managing Editor

Transfer students make up a big part of the EWU student body. EWU’s office of institutional research states that 42 percent of new students who started in the fall quarter of 2017 are transfer students. According to the admissions office, EWU expects to take on 1,275 more transfer students this fall.

These numbers are a result of the school’s effort in recruiting at community colleges.

“Like other public four-year schools, we recruit at both high schools and community colleges,” EWU Admissions’ director of recruitment Jana Jaraysi said. “Our location allows us to bring in transfer students from Spokane and Spokane Falls community colleges. They are our main feeder schools. We also get a lot of students from Columbia Basin College.” 

Jeremy Burnham for The Easterner

Part of the admissions office’s efforts at those schools involve having an employee hold office hours right on the community college’s campus.

“We’ve expanded our efforts to be available and present to community college students,” Jaraysi said. “At the Spokane colleges, we are there weekly. Our transfer rep has office hours at each of those locations. … And as of last year, one of our transfer advisors is at CBC once a week as well.”

Carlo Calvillo is the admissions advisor who holds office hours in Spokane. His entire job is advising transfer students.

“Talking about Eastern is easy for me because I’m an alumnus,” Calvillo said. “There is a sense of community here that makes you feel like you belong. I’m glad to still be involved.”

Though students from the two Spokane community colleges and CBC make up 41 percent of EWU’s transfer students, in 2016, EWU had transfer students from 43 different colleges or universities. Part of what makes EWU attractive to students is the direct transfer agreement the school has with every Washington and Oregon community college, as well as some schools from Idaho and Montana.

The agreement means that any student who transfers to EWU with a direct transfer degree will have 90 credits accepted and will start at EWU with junior standing.  

While other Washington four-year schools have this same agreement, EWU takes it a step further by offering automatic admission to students who earn a direct transfer degree from their community college. The University of Washington clearly states on its admissions site that the agreement is “not an admission agreement.”

Another perk that EWU offers transfer students is the ability to take part in the school’s honors program. An honors program for transfer students is something that not all four-year schools have. The University of Washington, for example, only allows early transfer students still working on their lower-division classes to apply for honors. Students who have earned an AA cannot.

Junior transfer student Isis Tilton said being able to participate in the honors program has been a good experience, however, she also said that expectations for transfer students are higher than for non-transfer students.

“It’s great that I have the honors scholarship,” Tilton said. “But if you’re a transfer student, you need to maintain a GPA of 3.7. Honor students starting as freshmen only need a 3.5.”

Despite the school’s success, Jaraysi’s team is always looking for new ways to serve transfer students. EWU’s website has a page with resources for students preparing to transfer their credits to EWU. A new tool the page offers is a link to Transferology, a site that lists how a student’s credits will transfer to EWU, as well as to other four-year universities.

“We’re always trying to make things even easier for future students,” Jaraysi said.