Reverse Transfer Programs
A Look at Efforts to Confer Associate Degrees to Transfer Students En Route to the Baccalaureate Degree
Reverse transfer policies and programs are spreading across the country as colleges and policymaker look for ways to boost graduation rates and educational attainment. According to the Office of Community College Research and Leadership at the University of Illinois, 36 states have at least one reverse transfer program between two- and four-year institutions, including 13 states where legislatures have approved reverse transfer legislation. The efforts strive to confer associate’s degrees to transfer students when they complete the degree requirements while en route to the baccalaureate degree. Fifteen states are part of the Credit When It’s Due initiative, funded by the Lumina Foundation. Now in its third and final year of its grant, the CWID has resulted in the conferral of more than 7,000 associate degrees over the past two academic years. But the policies have the potential to produce even more robust numbers – as much as 18 percent. That the percentage increase seen in Hawaii, which has a model program, including an automated system to identify eligible students, a general education system that maps college learning outcomes and leadership that has demonstrated its commitment to sustain reverse transfer by institutionalizing the process.