Interstate Passport: Streamlining Transfer to Increase College Completion

March 22, 2021
  • AACRAO Annual Meeting
  • Transfer
  • Transfer and Articulation
  • AM2021 Transfer
  • Transfer
Aerial view of a highway made of streaking lines of light.

The AACRAO 2021 Session, Interstate Passport: Streamlining Transfer to Increase College Completion, Presented by LaDawn Miera and Kate Springsteen.

As a result of the coronavirus impact on higher education and the economy, thousands of students are expected to transfer or to stop or drop out in the next year and beyond. Many will be crossing state lines. They need our help, and they need it now. 

For years, Transfer has been a problem in this country, contributing to the historic gaps in higher education. As Francisco Rodriguez, chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District, states in the AY 2019-2020 Interstate Passport Annual Report,  “The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates the inequities and shines a bright light on health and economic disparities for the most vulnerable student populations, who were already under-resourced before the pandemic. The time to fix transfer is now.”

Interstate Passport® is a transformative approach that is helping states, systems, colleges, and universities make transfer from one institution to another more affordable and efficient for students. Its goal is to promote efficient transfer both within and between states, thus saving money for states and students, promoting higher rates of completion, and supporting educational equity for students who disproportionately start at two-year institutions and must transfer to complete a baccalaureate degree – students of color, low-income, first-generation students, as well as military students, their families, and veterans.

A national program housed at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Interstate Passport enables block transfer of lower-division general education attainment based on identified student learning outcomes. Students who earn a Passport are recognized as having completed all lower-division general education requirements prior to transfer, eliminating the repetition of learning already achieved and the need for course-by-course articulation for general education credit. To ensure academic quality, students must earn a minimum grade of “C” in their Passport courses. Additionally, a robust tracking system evaluates Passport student progress after transfer.

In its first four years of full implementation, over 49,000 students have earned Passports. A review of the academic progress data reported in the Annual Report for AY 2019-2020 shows that students who transferred with a Passport are doing as well or better than students who transferred without one. On average, students who transferred with a Passport have a GPA of 3.54, while students who transferred without a Passport have an average GPA of 2.92. Additionally, students who transferred with a Passport took an average of 13.64 credits, while students who transferred without a Passport took an average of 9.74 credits.

LaDawn Miera, assistant registrar at Salt Lake Community College, writes, “As a member of the Interstate Passport Network since its inception, Interstate Passport offers our students the same type of state system General Education transfer guarantees when crossing state lines. It also gives students the opportunity to transfer sooner if a four-year degree is their ultimate educational goal.” 

Join LaDawn Miera and Kate Springsteen, member services coordinator of Interstate Passport, on Thursday, March 31st at 2:00 pm Eastern, as they describe the background, development, and outcomes of Interstate Passport, as well as its benefits for students and institutions.


AACRAO's bi-weekly professional development e-newsletter is open to members and non-members alike.