Reverse Transfer: Questions Emerging from an ASHE Symposium

by Debra D. Bragg and Jason L. Taylor / Nov 25, 2014

Last Friday, we participated in a symposium on Credit When It’s Due at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) in Washington, DC. The session titled, “Reverse Transfer:  Research and Policy on the Front Lines” featured Daniela Pineda (chair); Debra Bragg, Christopher Baldwin, Patricia Farrell-Cole, Marilyn Amey, Sarah Rose Fitzgerald, and Jason Taylor (panelists), and Tatiana Melguizo (discussant). Exploring the national initiative and using Michigan as a case, the panelists and audience of researchers raised a number of questions that deserve attention.

Recognizing that the number of students who have taken advantage of reverse transfer associate degrees has fallen short of expectations thus far, the following questions were raised that need further study:

  • “Reverse transfer” is a confusing term to many students. Can this concept be redefined to make it more comprehensible?
  • What can state systems and institutions do to make reverse transfer more attractive to students and reach more students?
  • Is an associate’s degree valuable enough to attract students to pursue it while pursuing their bachelor’s degree?
  • What are the benefits of a reverse transfer associate’s degree to students and institutions?
  • Ultimately, is reverse transfer good policy?

We welcome your thoughts on reverse transfer.  Please share your comments below.

Debra D. Bragg is the principal investigator of Credit When It’s Due (CWID) Research, OCCRL director, and Gutsgell Endowed professor at Illinois.

Jason L. Taylor is co-principal investigator of CWID Research and an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah.