The University plans to alter the way it handles transfer applications this year as economic hardships pushed some Michigan natives attending out-of-state schools to transfer back to their home state.

University Provost Teresa Sullivan said she’s watching the situation very closely to see if students from Michigan who attend out-of-state schools need to transfer back in-state because of financial constraints.

“We’ve been hearing anecdotes about freshmen at other universities who’ve been told by their parents that they need to come back in-state and go to a state university, like Michigan,” she said.

University President Mary Sue Coleman said the University does not normally accept a large number of sophomore transfers, but that she’s willing to make exceptions this year. Last fall, 833 students enrolled as transfer students at the University, of which 32 percent were sophomores.

“If there was a student who had somehow looked at Michigan and been admitted a year ago, but decided to go to Dartmouth, and now because of family circumstances or whatever said, ‘Hey can I come back to Michigan?’ we wanted to make sure that we were paying attention to those students,” Coleman said.

Sullivan said students who were previously admitted to the University but chose to attend an out-of-state school would likely be re-admitted if they applied to transfer, though there are no guarantees.

“Basically, if you were admitted to Michigan a year ago, we feel pretty friendly towards you and are not likely to re-think that (decision) too carefully,” she said. “It’s not a guarantee, but it’s pretty routine.”

Sullivan said the tougher decisions will come from students who never applied to the University.

“I think the more difficult case is the high school student who, for whatever reason, did not apply to Michigan, went out of state, now wants to come back and has never applied here before,” she said. “That’s a student for whom we have to look at everything.”

No official numbers have been released yet, but Sullivan said she has been in conversations with LSA Dean Terrence McDonald about how best to handle the situation. The deadline to apply to the College of Literature, Science and the Arts as a transfer student was yesterday.

Coleman said the reason the University doesn’t usually accept many sophomore transfers is because attrition from the freshmen to sophomore year is very low.

“Normally we don’t have slots for transfers at the sophomore level because our retention rate is so high from freshmen to sophomores,” Coleman said. “We don’t expect that there’s going to be huge numbers, but we also don’t want to let these student fall through the cracks.”

Additionally, Sullivan said for a sophomore to transfer to the University requires much more paperwork than a junior transfer, as the student’s college and high school career must be considered. When a student applies for a junior transfer, the University only considers the student’s college career.

On average from the fall of 2004 to the fall of 2008, about 840 transfer students enrolled at the University every year. A little less than 38 percent of those students were sophomore transfers.

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