Transfer Applications Up at Main Campus and Nearby Teaching Locations

July 23, 2009

Transfer Applications Up at Main Campus and Nearby Teaching Locations Saint Leo University administrators said the number of students transferring to the private, Catholic university’s main campus this fall is likely to be 40 percent higher than last year.

By the third week of July, 122 transfer students had enrolled for Monday through Friday classes at the main campus. More will be admitted in the next few weeks. At this time in 2008, 87 transfer students had enrolled.

Transfer students who come to the main campus for classes held Monday through Friday tend to be traditional-age college students, 19 to 22 years old. They typically have earned an associate degree from a community college, such as Pasco-Hernando Community College or Hillsborough Community College, though some transfer from other community colleges, or other four-year institutions.

The tough economy may be attracting more transfer applicants because Saint Leo’s 2009-2010 tuition, at $16,996, is attractive compared to other private institutions in the state, where tuition costs alone can top $30,000. And space in the state universities may be constrained in some cases. Meanwhile, students who transfer to Saint Leo and have performed well academically can often get merit scholarships, state Florida Resident Access Grants, plus other financial aid, based on need, further reducing the out-of-pocket tuition costs.

“Transfer students, having experienced other places, see the value in Saint Leo’s low costs and small classes, as well as the university values at work on campus,' said Gary Bracken, vice president for enrollment. The average class size is 20.

Saint Leo is not in a position to admit more than 500 freshmen at its main campus this year – the same number as last year – for lack of residence hall space. Freshmen tend to stay on campus, and all the available space is taken. Plans are in place to construct new residence halls in the next couple of years. Last year, about 1,400 undergraduates lived on campus.

Transfer students, by contrast, usually live at home and commute. They have often completed their first two years of liberal arts requirements, and so enroll in upper-division courses for their majors. The upper-division classes are usually smaller than foundation liberal arts courses and can absorb the transfer students.

Saint Leo is still accepting and reviewing applications for transfer admission to the main campus and will continue to do so for one or two days after the start of classes on August 25, Bracken said. Orientation for transfer students is August 24.

The population of college students transferring into Saint Leo University’s weekend and evening program on the main campus, or at teaching locations at campuses of PHCC in New Port Richey and Brooksville, also appears to be on the upswing. In those cases, the students tend to be older adults already in the labor force who want to finish a four-year degree for the good of their careers. Some people are laid-off employees who are using educational benefits that came with a severance package. Others have been out of work for more than a year, and their reduced income made them eligible for federal financial aid. Those classes start August 17.