Why are Universities Turning to a Reverse Transfer System?

Why are Universities Turning to a Reverse Transfer System?
The reverse transfer is growing exponentially in popularity. This is a more and more common new policy among many institutions to allow transfer of credits from four-year universities to community colleges. Why is it done, and who benefits from the policy?

Many community colleges across the country have transfer agreements with four-year schools, which allow students to easily transfer credits from the community college level and apply them toward a four-year degree program. Now, a whole new type of program is cropping up among two and four-year schools from coast to coast. Instead of transferring credits from community colleges to universities, schools are now allowing agreeing to reverse transfers, which allow students to take credits from their four-year institution and apply them to their community college degree.

The Reverse Transfer System is Introduced

While transfers to four-year schools provide clear benefits and a subsequent rise in popularity, the assurance of transferring credits from the university level to the local community college creates a more complex array of advantages. This process is a relatively new one that is just beginning to be introduced in college systems nationwide.

Many students who begin their college work at a community college move to a four-year institution before completing their associate degree. While credits may transfer to the four-year school, the student is left without a degree to underscore the work they put into their first college efforts. Until the bachelor’s degree is finished – which may take many more years of education – the student has little to show for his time, effort and money.

At the same time, community colleges are forced to report dismal completion rates – in some cases possibly affecting their ability to receive funding. However, many of these students may leave the community college system to pursue the rest of their education at a four-year school. Because it is nearly impossible for community colleges to accurately track these students, their continuation to a four-year degree is not credited to the community college in any way.

Reverse transfer agreements answer both of these issues effectively. Students who are able to transfer credits back to community colleges from a four-year institution may be able to finish their associate degree at the same time they are pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Community colleges can chalk these students up as completions for the school, since they are now able to nab their associate degree and graduate from their chosen field of study.

Because the benefits of a reverse transfer system are many, schools across the country are beginning to implement such systems. Some of the pioneers in this effort include the following school systems.

Nebraska Schools Come Together

The Winfield Daily Courier reports that schools in Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma have created a transfer agreement. Southwestern College Professional Studies has developed reverse transfer agreements with Wichita Area Technical College, Labette County Community College, Neosho County Community College, Redlands Community College, Central Texas College, Dodge City Community College, Seward County Community College, and Hutchinson Community College.

The agreement will allow students to continue to work toward an associate degree while in pursuit of a four year degree program at Southwestern College Professional Studies in Oklahoma. The new agreement does double duty, allowing students to gain important degree milestones and improve completion rates for community colleges in the area.

New Regional Partnership Includes Five Michigan Schools

Five Michigan colleges are also seizing the opportunity to reap the benefits of reverse transfer agreements. According to the Petoskey News, North Central Michigan College, Lake Superior State University, Kirtland Community College, Alpena Community College, and Ferris State University will all allow students to transfer credits between two-year and four-year institutions. The new policy may mean hundreds of students at North Central Michigan College are now eligible to earn a degree.

In order to qualify for the reverse transfer program, students must have earned a minimum of 45 credits through one of the community colleges on the list. Those who are now at a four-year school but are eligible to earn an associate degree can quickly achieve that education milestone before moving onto the next phase of their academic career.

North Carolina Issues Reverse Articulation Agreement

Fayetteville State University and Fayetteville Technical Community College have reached an articulation agreement that is the first of its kind in the state. The schools will now allow students to apply credits from either school toward a degree program from the next. Students who suddenly find themselves unable to complete a four-year degree can earn an associate degree that makes them more marketable in the workforce.

“We are pleased to make this opportunity available to FSU students who might not complete their four-year degree as planned,” Dr. James Anderson, chancellor of FSU, told the Paramus Post. “By transferring to FTCC, a student who might otherwise by a college “stop-out” can then earn an associate degree.”

Missouri Creates Law to Allow Reverse Transfers

Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri recently signed a bill into law that requires two and four-year colleges in the state to adopt a core transfer library, according to KBIA. The bill will help students move from a two-year school to obtain a four-year degree, but it will also help students bring course credits from a four-year school to be applied toward an associate degree.

“By 2018, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the United States will require some kind of postsecondary education,” Governor Nixon told KBIA. “Higher education is the key to Missouri’s sustained economic progress and quality of life, and essential to our nation’s ability to compete and win in a global economy.”

With reverse transfer agreements come even more options in higher education today. Through the ability to transfer college credits among a number of institutions, students can rest assured the work they put into higher education will not go wasted.

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