Overview

The Credit When It’s Due (CWID) initiative is a national grant program designed to facilitate the implementation and improve the process of “reverse transfer” degree programs. CWID represents a joint venture of several foundations: Lumina FoundationThe Kresge Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationUSA FundsThe Helios Education Foundation, and Greater Texas Foundation. The following 15 states have been awarded CWID grants: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas. As explained in the CWID grant announcement, “The initiative is designed to encourage partnerships of community colleges and universities to significantly expand programs that award associate degrees to transfer students when students complete the requirements for the associate degree while pursuing a bachelor’s degree.” Lumina Foundation and the Gates Foundation are supporting OCCRL to conduct the research for the CWID initiative. OCCRL’s research design consists of three related studies: Baseline Study, Policy Implementation and Data Capacity Study, and Impact Study.

How Does Reverse Transfer Work?

In the most simplistic form, reverse transfer programs are intended for students who transfer from a community college to a university without earning the associate’s degree. College credits earned at the university are then transferred back to the community college where a degree audit is conducted and students are awarded an associate degree’s if all degree requirements are met. CWID states are implementing reverse transfer in different ways, and as these approaches are developed and implemented we will report them on this website and in other venues.

Goals

  • Conduct a baseline study that documents and analyzes pre-CWID policies and data related to reverse transfer
  • Conduct a policy implementation and data capacity study that documents the development and implementation of reverse transfer-related policies and practices
  • Conduct an impact study to track students longitudinally to determine the impact of CWID and reverse transfer programs
  • Facilitate and support communications and among CWID states, funders, and the public

Current Topics

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  • Transfer in the Spotlight: New Models, New Opportunities

    Despite it's long historic mission in U.S. community colleges, transfer is receiving a great deal of attention these days. Issues related to successful transfer from community colleges to universities are being explored through initiatives such as Credit When It's Due (CWID) and transfer research. In cities like Chicago, higher education institutions are exploring new models such as the Arrupa College created by Loyola University of Chicago. Serving underserved populations, particularly low-income students in the Chicago metropolitan area, Arrupa College promises to offer a summer pre-enrollment orientation, small class sizes and academic and social supports, one-on-one contact with specialized faculty, an associate’s degree that is fully transferable throughout the state, and possibly most important, a financial strategy that permits low-income students to fully finance the cost of instruction without accumulating debt that will extend beyond completion of their associate’s degree.

    To read the full article by Debra Bragg, please go to:  http://www.aacu.org/peerreview/2015/fall/bragg

    Full story
  • OCCRL-header
  • OCCRL Twitter Chat Series: Reverse Transfer

    Interested in reverse transfer? Join moderators Matt, Collin, and Jason for a Twitter chat to discuss reasons to develop reverse transfer programs, the design of reverse transfer programs, strategies to engage more students in reverse transfer, and emerging research related to reverse transfer.

    When: December 2nd, 2015, 2:00-3:00 PM CST
    Where: Twitter!

    Use #reversetransfer to participate.

    Moderators:

    matt-giani collin-callaway
    jason-taylor
    Matt Giani
    @Matt_Giani
    Research Assistant Professor
    OCCRL
    University of Illinois
    Collin Callaway
    @ArkansasCC
    Chief Operations Officer
    Arkansas Community Colleges
    Jason Taylor
    @jltaylo
    Assistant Professor
    Department of Educational Leadership and Policy
    University of Utah
    Full story
  • data-note
  • State Associate’s Degree Attainment: The Potential of Reverse Transfer

    National data show that the majority of students who transfer from a community college to a 4-year college or university do so without an associate’s degree (Hoachlander, Sikora, & Horn, 2003), and the many of these students never make it to the bachelor’s degree (Shapiro, et al., 2013). Yet, many of these students earned the credits needed for an associate’s degree. The Credit When It’s Due (CWID) initiative is focused on developing reverse transfer programs and policies to confer transfer students associate’s degrees when they meet the degree requirements. The primary beneficiaries of the reverse transfer policies are students; these students have completed the credits needed for an associate’s degree similar to students who complete the associate’s degree prior to transfer.

    CWID policies may also benefit state college completion efforts, and this new CWID Data Note examines the potential contribution of reverse transfer to state associate’s degree attainment numbers. Based on data from the first two years of the CWID initiative, the results of this analysis suggest that reverse transfer policies may boost state associate’s degree attainment up to 18%, as is the case in Hawaii. In most other states, this percentage ranges from 1-5%. However, state reverse transfer policies are in their infancy and have not yet fully matured, so this analysis likely underestimates the potential of reverse transfer to increase state associate’s degree attainment numbers.

    This Data Note informs the ongoing policy and practice dialogue around reverse transfer. Policymakers and educational leaders should elicit lessons from all CWID states, but especially states where policy and practice are scaled to a more mature level. Results from Hawaii are instructive because Hawaii has scaled reverse transfer policies and processes along several dimensions (Taylor & Bragg, 2015). For example, Hawaii’s public system of higher education has an integrated data system that includes all public institutions; an opt-out consent policy that maximizes the number of students eligible to participate in reverse transfer; an automated process via the “STAR” system that both identifies eligible students and executes preliminary degree audits; a general education system that maps college learning outcomes to college courses so that general education requirements can be fulfilled based on learning outcomes, not just course completion; a reverse transfer policy that allows substitutions and waivers for institutional-specific degree requirements identified as barriers to reverse transfer completion; and leadership commitment to sustain re-verse transfer by institutionalizing the process. Hawaii also benefits from a centralized public higher education governance structure that facilitates the implementation of transfer and articulation policies, including reverse transfer policies.

    Although many states across the nation have not implemented reverse transfer at scale, nor have they fully developed or refined reveres transfer policies, it is important to understand the potential contribution of CWID to state college completion efforts and to monitor results to understand what is possible at scale.

    References

    • Hoachlander, G., Sikora, A. C., & Horn, L. (2003). Community college students: Goals, academic preparation, and outcomes. Education Statistics Quarterly, 5(2), 121-170.
    • Shapiro, D., Dundar, A., Ziskin, M., Chiang, Y., Chen, J., Harrell, A., & Torres, V. (2013). Baccalaureate attainment: A national view of the postsecondary outcomes of students who transfer from two-year to four-year institutions. Herndon, VA: National Student Clearinghouse.
    • Taylor, J. L., & Bragg, D. D. (2015, January). Optimizing reverse transfer policies and processes: Lessons from twelve CWID states. Champaign, IL: Office of Community College Research and Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    jason-taylorJason L. Taylor is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational
    Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah and is Co-PI for the Credit When It’s Due initiative research


    braggDr. Debra D. Bragg is the founding director of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership

    Full story
  • cwid
  • Reverse Transfer Webinar: Tennessee’s Experience

    Oct 20, 2015 at 1:00 PM EDT.

    Join us for the first in a series of webinars that will profile CWID state experiences with reverse transfer. The webinar series begins with the state of Tennessee. In 2012, the Tennessee legislature adopted legislation that encouraged reverse transfer agreements within the state, and Tennessee joined the CWID initiative in 2013. The webinar will feature the Tennessee policy context, the state’s approach to reverse transfer, early outcomes, and lessons learned.

    Presenters
    • Gloria Gammell, Project Coordinator and Program Manager, Office of Academic Affairs and Student Success, University of Tennessee
    • India Lane, Assistant Vice President, Office of Academic Affairs and Student Success, University of Tennessee
    • Tammy Lemon, Director, Center for Business and Economic Research, University of Tennessee Knoxville
    • Debra Bragg, Founding Director, OCCRL, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • Jason Taylor, Assistant Professor, University of Utah


    Register now!

    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7749810221480387073

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


    jason-taylorJason L. Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah. He received his PhD in higher education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a research specialization in evaluation methods and concentration in public policy. His broad research interests are at the intersection of community college and higher education policy and educational and social inequality. Dr. Taylor has conducted and led several quantitative and mixed methods studies related to college readiness, developmental education, adult pathways to college, dual credit/enrollment and early college experiences, transfer policy and reverse transfer, LGBTQ students and educational access and equity. He is currently the Co-PI with Dr. Debra Bragg and co-leading the research agenda for the Credit When It’s Due initiative, a 15-state effort to develop and implement reverse transfer programs and policies.

    Full story
  • cwid-map
  • Reverse Transfer Convening: Expanding Conversations and Surfacing Impacts

    On June 8-9, the 16 Credit When It’s Due (CWID) grantees convened in Indianapolis, Indiana to reflect on key issues facing states with the implementation of reverse transfer degrees and to discuss sustainability for these efforts. Twenty-three additional states and representatives from several national organizations joined the convening to engage in this discussion and mine the lessons learned.

    This blog highlights a few take-aways from the CWID convening and shares links to key resources and materials from the convening. The convening offered an opportunity for the CWID states to share lessons learned among the other grantees and the non-CWID states.

    1. The CWID grant has impacts beyond reverse transfer. It was evident during the convening and through OCCRL’s research that reverse transfer implementation efforts brought to the surface many existing inefficiencies in the transfer process that reach beyond reverse transfer. For example, the technology infrastructure to exchange student transcript data and audit degrees is often inadequate and outdated. Similarly, course articulation tables and equivalencies are sometimes nonexistent or not maintained in many institutions. Reverse transfer has prompted discussions about and investments in updated technologies and enhanced course equivalency and articulation tables.

    2. Reverse transfer needs to be integrated into existing systems and student pathways. Several attendees observed that reverse transfer is a promising strategy that needs to be integrated into existing systems and existing student pathways. This prompts questions about the optimal time for students to transfer (before or after receiving the associate’s degree) and how states and institutions can ensure reverse transfer is not simply an afterthought but an intentional and integrated marker of students’ educational pathways.

    3. Reverse transfer policies are elevating questions about the value of the associate’s degree. Which students should receive an associate’s degree? Traditionally, students enrolled at a university are pursuing a bachelor’s degree, not an associate’s degree. Reverse transfer policies challenge this dominant tradition, particularly for the 40% of transfer students who do not earn a bachelor’s degree within four years of transfer. It was clear through the convening and through OCCRL research that not all stakeholders understand the value of the associate’s degree. Reverse transfer policies and programs have led to new discussions about the value of the associate’s degree among the general public, students, policymakers, and university and community college leaders and staff.

    4. As of June 2015, more than 7000 reverse transfer credentials were conferred by eleven CWID states.  The number of reverse transfer credentials conferred among the CWID states grew from 3000 in March 2014 to over 7000 in eleven states by June 2015. Several states are still developing and investing in technology that will enable automation and scaling, so this number continues to grow as many states are not yet implementing reverse transfer at scale.

    5. Interest in reverse transfer is growing. Reverse transfer programs and policies are in their infancy, and the national interest in reverse transfer was shown by the 38 states that attended the event. Among the 23 non-CWID states in attendance, approximately half indicated they were piloting or implementing reverse transfer, and the other half indicated they were exploring or planning reverse transfer.

    The states that were funded by CWID to develop and implement reverse transfer have generated a wealth of research and practical information. OCCRL collected and aggregated convening resources on the CWID website. At this website, you can find links to the convening agenda, CWID state profiles that provide details about reverse transfer policies, OCCRL’s research presentation, presentations by the National Student Clearinghouse and the Missouri Reverse Transfer, OCCRL research papers and briefs, and much more.

    jason-taylorJason L. Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah. He received his PhD in higher education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a research specialization in evaluation methods and concentration in public policy. His broad research interests are at the intersection of community college and higher education policy and educational and social inequality. Dr. Taylor has conducted and led several quantitative and mixed methods studies related to college readiness, developmental education, adult pathways to college, dual credit/enrollment and early college experiences, transfer policy and reverse transfer, LGBTQ students and educational access and equity. He is currently the Co-PI with Dr. Debra Bragg and co-leading the research agenda for the Credit When It’s Due initiative, a 15-state effort to develop and implement reverse transfer programs and policies.

    Full story

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