Three Decades of Higher Education Excellence Through Collaboration
Transfer students reflect a growing percentage of the college population. Often, students transfer before earning a degree or certificate but complete enough classes at a subsequent institution to qualify for an associate degree or certificate. Many students don’t go back to claim their degree, and few institutions track a student’s entire academic record enough to make a cumulative degree determination. Students should receive credit for all the work they have completed, and certificates and associate degrees can make the difference when applying for a job or promotion. Additionally, performance tracking by government and accreditors has made these degrees more important to institutions.
In the fall of 2010, SMHEC initiated its reverse transfer initiative, investigating how to better assist students with post-transfer completion of associate degrees. The aim of the SMHEC Reverse Transfer Project is to understand why students transfer prior to receiving associate’s degrees and to explore which changes can be made to existing college policies and procedures to assist students to obtain an associate’s degree or complete a certificate prior to transfer.
The goals of the SMHEC Student Transfer Project include:
- Investigate the percentage of community college students who transfer to a university without completing an associate’s degree,
- Identify specific students who transfer without receiving an associate’s degree,
- Determine what factors play a role in a student’s decision to transfer prior to degree completion,
- Determine whether students seeking a baccalaureate degree value an associate’s degree,
- Identify policies and procedures that create barriers to graduation,
- Implement changes to those policies and procedures that will, among other things, allow for the reverse transfer of university course credit back to 2-year institutions to help the student meet associate degree graduation requirements.