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Exploring “Reverse Transfer” in Ontario: A Qualitative Study of University-to-College Mobility

February 2019

Authors: Reana Maier, Karen Robson (McMaster University)

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Executive Summary

In this study, we explore the experiences of Ontario students who have engaged in ‘reverse transfer’, i.e. moving from university-to-college (UTC), focusing on their reasons for doing so and their transfer experiences, with particular attention to obstacles they may have encountered in order to address systemic barriers through targeted policy recommendations. Data was collected through qualitative interviews with 20 participants who began their postsecondary journey in a university program, but left that program before completing it, and subsequently pursued a college program.

Our research questions were as follows:

  • What factors led to the decision to reverse transfer?
  • What were participants’ experiences and perceptions of the reverse transfer process, particularly in regard to any barriers encountered?
  • If barriers were identified (by the participant or in the analysis phase), how might they have been reduced?


  • Student decisions, experiences, and outcomes