Voices and Viewpoints

Reverse Transfer: The National Landscape

by Sara Garcia / Mar 18, 2015

Reverse transfer policies and programs are spreading across the country, including the 15 states funded by the Credit When It’s Due (CWID) initiative. To understand the national landscape of reverse transfer, the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) recently published a data note that examined the prevalence of reverse transfer policies across all 50 states. Reverse transfer programs allow students to use credits they earn at their university to transfer back to complete any degree requirements remaining at their former community college so they can attain an associate’s degree. In order to increase college completion, reverse transfer programs have become more prevalent across the country, and many states have begun adopting formal legislation, requiring colleges and universities to develop and implement reverse transfer programs. Formal reverse transfer legislation within states is helpful in ensuring that the largest number of students have access to reverse transfer programs, and are able to use credits they have earned to attain their associate’s degree.

When examining the prevalence of reverse transfer policies across all 50 states the OCCRL found that only 13 of the 50 states have either passed reverse transfer legislation, or have pending/proposed reverse transfer legislation in place. This means that only 13 states require their colleges and universities to develop and implement reverse transfer programs. Of those 13 states, eight are participating in the CWID initiative. The remaining 37 states have no formal legislation but have implemented at least one reverse transfer program between 2- and 4-year institutions. The only exception is Alaska, which does not have any formal legislation or programs. Please click here to read more about the results from this data note where you can also review the legislation that has been passed in 13 states. You can visit the CWID resources page, located on the OCCRL website, to view this data note along with publications, blogs, presentations, and previous data notes from the OCCRL CWID initiative.

garciaSara Garcia is a graduate research assistant working with the Credit When It’s Due project at the Office of Community College Research and Leadership. She is a PhD student in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include issues surrounding access to higher education and minority representation in STEM education.

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