Providing community, opportunity for Spartan transfer students

May 30, 2023 - Mark Johnson

Transfer students make up about 10% of the undergraduate enrollment at Michigan State University, and they face unique challenges, from finances and studying, to a sense of belonging. MSU’s Transfer Student Success Center (TSSC) offers support to help those thousands of Spartans succeed, and this spring was no different. In collaboration with other campus partners, the TSSC offered several opportunities for transfer students to learn, grow and support their academic and personal goals.

In an effort to support transfer students, including approximately 4,700 who enrolled in the spring 2023 semester, the Go for the Green Financial Literacy Team hosted a panel discussion with undergraduate students on April 13, called “From the Banks of the Red Cedar to Success in the Working World.” The Go for the Green Financial Literacy Team is a collaboration between the Transfer Student Success Center, MSU Department of Human Development and Family Studies, MSU Office of Financial Aid, MSU Libraries-William C. Gast Business Library, and Michigan State University Federal Credit Union.

By attending this event, all students were eligible to apply for the Go for the Green Paul Pradel Scholarship. Recipients of the scholarship, given out in amounts of up to $2,000, were announced the following week.

The panelists for the April 13 discussion included Michelle Orlando, a statistical reports supervisor with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from MSU in 2014 ; Alejandra Loaiza-Delgado, senior director at Insight Economics, who received a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from MSU in 2016; and Dr. Camaya Wallace Bachard, assistant director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access for the University of Illinois Extension, who graduated with a doctorate in human development and family studies from MSU in 2018.

Additionally, on April 19 in honor of National Financial Literacy Month, the TSSC hosted a virtual financial literacy session for all MSU transfer students in collaboration with the Go for the Green Financial Literacy Team. Presentations to the transfer student community focused on financial aid, scholarships, budgeting for life in college.

Transfer students who attended the financial literacy session became eligible to apply for the Go for the Green Transfer Student Financial Literacy Scholarship. The three recipients were announced in May who received a $1,500, $1,000, or $500 scholarship. The students additionally were required to share their own financial literacy tips for transfer students as part of the scholarship application process.

“As an incoming transfer student to MSU, my financial advice would be to take control of your finances and create a realistic budget from the start,” wrote Olivia Pauls, a junior studying Civil Engineering in the College of Engineering, who was the $1,500 scholarship recipient. “Set goals for yourself and stick to them. Starting college and living on your own for the first time comes with a lot of responsibility, and it is crucial to begin reflecting on your finances as soon as you can. If you can start early, it'll become a habit and it'll be easier to hold yourself accountable to your goals.”

In other collaborations, the Transfer Student Success Center, partnering with the College of Social Science, hosted a study night for transfer Social Science students majoring in various majors on April 26 at the STEM Teaching and Learning Facility. Students learned how to study more effectively during workshops that focused on study strategy tips and time management skills.

Three people gather around a laptop, engaged with each other in conversation, others work at tables in the background.
Three people work together on a laptop, screens in the background display the words Office of Student Services.


“Providing transfer students space to build community and the opportunity to learn about various academic support services within the College of Social Science is essential to meeting goals within our 2030 Strategic Plan,” said Charles Jackson III, director of the Transfer Student Success Center.

About 10% to 15% of the incoming fall 2023 semester class is composed of transfer students and the TSSC is preparing to support their new and current transfer Spartans with additional opportunities like those offered this spring.

Find more information about the Transfer Student Success Center online. If you have any questions, contact Ashley Hewlett-Lemke, program coordinator Transfer Student Success Center at, and Dr. Charles Jackson, director of the Transfer Student Success Center at

You can support transfer students through the Transfer Student Success Center Emerging Opportunities Fund. The Transfer Student Success Center Emerging Opportunities Fund was created to reduce the debt load of transfer students, provide events to increase sense of belonging and ultimately increase the graduate rate for transfer students.