Credit When It’s Due Initiative Leads to 15,000 More Associate Degrees Nationwide Via Reverse Credit Transfer
By Jason Taylor, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy, University of Utah. Jason is one of the nation’s premier researchers on reverse credit transfer.
Since 2012, 16 states have participated in the Credit When It’s Due (CWID) initiative and have dedicated efforts to designing and implementing reverse credit transfer programs and policies, with the help of more than $7 million in funding by various foundations.
We are only beginning to see the impact of the CWID initiative. In its first three years, more than 15,000 transfer students completed their associate degree via reverse credit transfer, and this number continues to rise as implementation efforts evolve and are scaled. In several CWID states, the number of associate degrees conferred annually increased by 2-5 percent, and in one state, Hawaii, the number of associate degrees increased by 18 percent because of CWID. While thousands of transfer students have received an associate degree, many more students have indicated their interest to receive a degree when they qualify for it. So, there is great potential to further increase degree attainment through reverse credit transfer efforts.
Furthermore, the CWID initiative has revealed significant gaps in transfer policy and practice. The initiative has prompted changes to institutional, system, and state policies and practices. For example, states have developed new articulation policies for the transfer and articulation of courses, expanded the ways in which they identify and acknowledge completion of general education or core transfer curriculum, and eliminated bureaucratic barriers to degree completion (e.g., graduation forms and fees). Also, they have invested in or developed technology to facilitate transcript exchange and degree audits, and enhanced communication to students and the public about the value of the associate degree.
“We are only beginning to see the impact of the CWID initiative. In its first three years, more than 15,000 transfer students completed their associate degree via reverse credit transfer.”
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy, University of Utah.
After the initial investment with the 16 states, three of the CWID states also collaborated with the National Student Clearinghouse to develop a national reverse credit transfer solution, which is now available. Reverse credit transfer occurs when a four-year institution transfers student credits back to any two-year institution from which a student has transferred, and, if eligible, the student is awarded an associate degree. The Clearinghouse received a grant from the Lumina Foundation to develop and offer a reverse credit transfer solution to institutions, which can facilitate the electronic exchange of transcripts within and between states and the public and private sectors explicitly for the purpose of reverse credit transfer.
The successes of the CWID initiative are accumulating. Our forthcoming studies on the implementation of reverse credit transfer and on the effect of the reverse credit transfer associate degree offer additional insights into how CWID is expanding opportunities for students. More information about the CWID initiative and CWID research is available on the CWID website: http://occrl.illinois.edu/cwid.
Jason will be speaking on Sunday, January 29, at the 2017 National Policy Summit on Talent Pipeline Management & Reverse Transfer.
To learn more about the Clearinghouse’s national reverse transfer solution, visit www.reversetransfer.org or contact Michelle Blackwell, National Manager of Reverse Transfer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.