Minnesota develops automatic reporting process to further refine reverse transfer degree eligibility

by Rochelle Ament / Sep 18, 2014

OCCRL asked Rochelle Ament to share MnSCU’s new strategy to automate part of the reverse transfer process.

An automated process to identify the most eligible students for a reverse transfer Associate in Arts degree is one of Minnesota’s greatest successes since joining the Credit When It’s Due project.

As Minnesota embarked on the process of developing and implementing a state-wide reverse transfer process, it was clear early on that one major challenge would be determining which students could satisfy the requirements for an Associate in Arts degree through reverse transfer. Although Minnesota benefits from having shared transcript and degree auditing platforms among the 37 colleges and universities in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU), pin-pointing which students to target for reverse transfer was not simple.

In the early stages of implementation, degree audits were conducted for students who met minimum residency requirements (12 credits in Minnesota) at one of the participating community colleges. The wide parameters for degree auditing eligibility resulted in MnSCU staff manually auditing nearly 12,000 student transcripts, many of whom were far from degree-eligibility. Continuing reverse transfer efforts under this model would result in about 2,400 manual degree audits annually, a process that is not sustainable. The amount of time and effort necessary for conducting these audits drove Minnesota to develop a more automated process for determining degree auditing eligibility.

Here’s how the process works:

  • Every institution within the MnSCU system recognizes the completion of the same 40-credit general education package, known as the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC). This general education package is a component of all Associate in Arts and Bachelor’s degrees within MnSCU. In order to narrow the number of students who receive a manual degree audit and to identify those who are most likely eligible for an Associate in Arts degree, an end-of-semester report was designed to identify those students who have completed the MnTC.
  • As an additional benefit, the process results in automatic and highlighted notation of completion of the MnTC on students’ transcripts.
  • Going forward, MnSCU staff will use this notation, in conjunction with institutional residency (12) and minimum degree credit requirements (60), to audit only the likeliest possible candidates for degree conferral.

Using the automated process, which is scheduled to launch at the end of fall 2014, the number of students to manually review for reverse transfer will be smaller and more manageable. Time and effort saved as a result of the more automated process will aid in the sustainability of reverse transfer efforts in Minnesota. Minnesota’s participation in the Credit When It’s Due project has allowed for the implementation of several simple, but overlooked process improvements. The automated recognition of the completion of the general education package will make the milestone more visible for students and provide them with the important recognition in the path to their long-term goals.

Since MnSCU began reverse transfer efforts in the summer of 2013, 928 Associate in Arts degrees have been conferred through the state’s reverse transfer process.

Rochelle Ament is the Credit When It’s Due Project Manager for the Minnesota State College and University System. Minnesota’s CWID grant is funded by the Lumina Foundation.