Research has found that students earning an associate degree are more likely to complete a four-year undergraduate education and improve their employment opportunities. A new initiative could make it possible for two million community college students to retroactively receive their associate degrees.
The Reverse Transfer Project, an initiative from the National Student Clearinghouse, is a standardized process that allows two- and four-year institutions to transfer student credits. Technology advances in data storage and analytics make it possible to identify credits earned at any institution and transfer them back to the two-year program where a student started, according to a report in eCampus News.
“The data capacity of the Clearinghouse will allow institutions to assist students who have transferred,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation. “Institutions will now have better data to conduct degree audits on students’ accumulated records and students will have recognition for achieving their associate degree.”
There are already 3,600 institutions participating in the reverse transfer program and more states are working on similar programs through the Correctly Recognizing Education Achievements to Empower (CREATE) Graduates legislation.
“The Clearinghouse Reverse Transfer Project is a major step in improving higher-education outcomes, which will benefit us as a nation,” said Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of the America Association for Community Colleges. “More students will get the degrees they deserve. Community colleges will be recognized for the value they add to education. And by granting more degrees, states will be better positioned to attract new business.”