Streamlining transcript evaluations through software integration

July 8, 2019
  • Competencies
  • Data Stewardship
  • Interpretation and Application of Data
  • Student Information Systems
  • Technology
  • Technology and Transfer

One of the largest community college districts in the nation—City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), which includes seven independently accredited colleges, each with its own Registrar—has successfully integrated the Transfer Evaluation System (TES) to routinely import course equivalencies into the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions system. 

Establishing a central database

With over 80,000 students enrolled at the seven colleges, transfer credit is a complicated issue for CCC, Alfredo Estrada, District Director of Student Transfer Systems. 
“We’re a very large district with a lot of students transferring in from both community colleges and universities (such as UIC, Depaul, and Loyola),” Estrada said. “In addition to those institutions, we also have a lot of college level credits coming from high school AP and IB courses.”
Until a short time ago, seven colleges meant seven course catalogues -- and seven different credit evaluation teams with seven independent methods determining the transferability of courses on transcripts from the same sending institution.

“As an institution, we had to solve for this,” Estrada said.”It was impacting students’ registration, retention, and completion. At the root it was about not having a central equivalency database -- which is all about technology.”

Consolidation and centralization

CCC decided to consolidate their catalogues into one universal course catalog, then began developing a framework for transfer. 
“Our processes were labor-intensive, involved a lot of keystroking, and had little automation -- course equivalencies weren’t built into the SIS,” Estrada said. 
After implementing TES (from CollegeSource), CCC moved the responsibility of evaluation from advising to records, and developed a solution to integrate data migration out of TES into PeopleSoft CS. 

“We developed a systematic way of importing course rules into Oracle,” Estrada said. “We build the rules in TES and migrate them into Campus Solutions and that’s where the automation kicks in.”

Results speak for themselves

In 2012 CCC evaluated and posted credit for about 700 transcripts and had about 12,000 course equivalencies in their database. In 2018, they were able to review eight times that many -- over 6000 transcripts -- and have over 142,000 course equivalencies. 

“Staff who have been on our evaluation teams over the years feel the difference, they see the difference, and most importantly our students are able to get answers much more quickly,” Estrada said. “Not only has it improved our ability to handle intense volumes of transcripts, it’s also helped with advising. Our advisors have been trained to look up equivalencies and now they understand and discuss exactly how courses transfer in to CCC. 

Learn more

Join a robust discussion about this centralization and automation in Estrada’s session “How Seven Colleges Streamlined Transfer Credit Processing” at the 2019 AACRAO Technology and Transfer Conference next week in Las Vegas. The session will highlight the organizational structure, the method for configuring transfer rules at CCC, and the work it took to integrate transfer systems.