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Streamlining Reverse Transfer with Automation

Posted on 8/7/2014 by AcademyOne Insights

Through the practice known as reverse transfer, students who have moved on from their community college before earning a credential and have completed the requirements of an associate degree while pursuing their baccalaureate degree at a four-year university, can be awarded their associate degree from the community college.

Every year, thousands of community college students transfer to four-year universities for various reasons. According to a report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, about two thirds of transfer students do so before graduating, leaving them with no credential. Oftentimes, these students complete courses at the four-year university that, if taken at the community college, would have earned them an associate degree.

With today’s economic environment, an associate degree is a valuable asset that can help graduates compete for jobs and earn higher wages. According to a report by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 60 percent of job openings by 2018 will require at least some higher education.

Reverse transfer is a fairly new practice among states and institutions, and it has more recently garnered attention on a national level. Last month, U.S. Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the Correctly Recognizing Educational Achievements to Empower (CREATE) Graduates Act, a bill that would provide grant funding to states that establish or expand reverse transfer programs.

Building or expanding reverse transfer programs requires close institutional collaboration on degree requirements and transfer credit equivalences, as well as technology that can assimilate data from multiple student information systems and automate degree audit processes. Little has been done so far to actually streamline the reverse transfer process and reduce the manual workload for institutions. AcademyOne has the software development expertise within higher education to change that.

At AcademyOne, we are developing a statewide reverse transfer solution for institutions that will expedite and automate processes such as:

  • Identification of eligible students – four-year institutions will be able to upload a list of eligible students for a reverse transfer associate degree along with their course history from that institution into the system.
  • Notification of eligibility and obtaining student permission to share information – qualifying students will be sent an email from the system notifying them of their eligibility and asking for consent to transmit their course history from the community college.
  • FERPA-compliant transmission of student transcripts – community colleges will be able to upload transcripts of consenting students into the system to compile a complete academic history for each student.
  • Validation of equivalencies - the system will run a simulated degree audit matching each student’s course history against the preloaded transfer degree pathways to determine if they have met or are close to meeting the degree requirements for a reverse transfer associate degree.
  • Notification to student of degree award – community colleges will be able to review the results of the simulated audit and notify students of their eligibility to be awarded the degree or to let them know of any outstanding requirements needed for completion.

Facilitating a statewide reverse transfer solution with better workflow and communication processes benefits all involved stakeholders. Students gain a marketable and valuable credential before earning their baccalaureate, affording them better job and earning opportunities. Community colleges acquire an automated system that minimizes the time and effort needed to identify, evaluate and communicate with potential reverse transfer degree candidates. They also gain a significant boost in the attainment of their degree completion goals. Four-year institutions increase their persistence and completion rates with students whose accomplishments have been recognized and are motivated to finish their baccalaureate program of study. States gain an increased advantage with the number of people attaining a postsecondary degree as economies and the labor market across the board improve with a better educated and appropriately credentialed workforce.

AcademyOne is currently working with the state of Tennessee to automate the reverse transfer process in the state. To read more about this work check out, Tennessee to Increase Degree Completion through Reverse Transfer Solution.

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