Transfer Credit - State and Institutional Initiatives

State and Institutional Initiatives

Historically, two-and four-year college transfer and articulation agreements were primarily institutional initiatives rather than state mandates. Now, nearly every state has some policy on college transfer of credits for students moving from public two- to four-year institutions. States and institutions advertise and promote transferability, pathways and methods differently across the education sectors.

State legislatures have enacted bills to mandate state oversight, audit and development of procedures that would provide uniformity and increased transparency. Yet, there still remains striking differences across the United States because there is no federal or national policy to support college transfer. Much debate has arisen around college transfer from its impact on affordability to how it has extended time to degree.

Student mobility is not just within states though. Some 40% of students transfer across state boundaries. College transfer policies and practices among the states usually avoid the cross state issues. As a result, these differences include not only how policies and practices were initially established, but also their degree of selectivity, granularity, coverage and uniformity is applied in practice at the institutional level.

There is no single model of college transfer and course articulation processes can be identified as the universal standard or even as the preferred model. In the United States, most states employ a combination of approaches ranging from informal efforts of transfer professionals that try to do right by the student, to more formal institution-based agreements, to state-mandated policies. College transfer has been very problematic and costly to students, institutions and the states subsidizing higher education. States such as Florida, Minnesota, Ohio, Arizona, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, California, Texas and Pennsylvania have stepped in to define regulations, methods and standards of practice for institutions to follow when evaluating college transfer applicants.

In particular, the state of Texas is actively looking at transfer issues as part of the Closing the Gaps 2015 initiative. The National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students hosted a state-wide conference on May 22, 2009. The Texas Transfer Success Conference will bring together higher education professionals from the state's over 150 institutions of higher education.

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