State’s 2-year colleges, 4-year universities sign agreement letting students move in ‘reverse’

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After graduating high school, many students use a community college or another two-year college as a stepping-stone to a four-year college and a bachelor’s degree.

Sometimes, after actually transferring to a four-year school, those same students find life gets in the way and they have to leave school before they have the chance to finish the degree, with nothing to show for their hard work except a headache and student loans.

But educators in Alabama have a solution to help give credit to these students where credit is due.

Officials of the Alabama Community College System (ACCS), public universities across the state, and Huntingdon College gathered Wednesday to announce a new agreement that will allow students to transfer credits from four-year institutions back to a two-year institution in order to complete a degree.

“Many people understand that you can take courses at community colleges, transfer those credits to a university, and apply them toward a four-year degree,” said Jimmy Baker, acting chancellor of the ACCS. “Our new agreement makes it possible for students to transfer credits in the other direction, too, helping them to attain a recognized credential they can use in the workplace or as they further their education.”

Commonly known as “reverse transfers” this process has been, theoretically, possible for several years at some institutions, but technical difficulties often got in the way. The new agreement was reached with support of the National Student Clearinghouse to ensure a seamless transition for students wishing to go back to community college to complete an associate’s degree.

“This agreement exemplifies the way that Alabama’s educational institutions can work together for the greater good,” said Lineville-Republican Sen. Gerald Dial.  “It demonstrates our collective commitment to giving our students every opportunity to succeed.”

In helping students get degrees from two-year colleges, the reverse transfer agreement will improve completion rates, which is a major objective at all levels of education.

Presidents and/or designees from all of the institutions in the Alabama Community College System, every public four-year university, and Huntingdon College signed the agreement.

To be eligible for a reverse transfer, students must have earned at least 25 percent of the credits they need for a degree from a community college and have earned at least three semester hours from the four-year institution as part of the overall associate degree requirements.

 

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