Transfer articulation: Re-envisioning a common registrar tool

August 26, 2019
  • AACRAO Consulting
  • Competencies
  • Technological Knowledge
  • Transfer and Articulation
hands manipulating data on screen

by Rodney Parks, University Registrar; Alexander Taylor, Assistant Registrar of Communications; and Casey Hayes, Assistant Registrar for Data Management and Reporting, Elon University

Robust transfer articulation tables save academic advisors and registrar staff an immense amount of time annually. Consider how often we are asked annually how credit will transfer to our institutions. As stackable credentials become mainstream, institutions will begin looking for ways to recruit students with non-traditional education and award academic credit in the hopes the student will matriculate and complete a degree. 

Transfer articulation is key to opening the door for all learners to gain as much credit as possible towards a credential. This means not only accepting traditional academic credit from other institutions, but also recognizing the value of alternative records including certificates, badges, military experience and credit from global partnerships. Transfer equivalencies must also be accessible and transparent to enable prospective students to make informed decisions about which pathway is right for them. 

As articulation tables have started to evolve, some universities hope to introduce a more transparent process for transfer articulation and to establish clearer pathways towards earning a credential. Elon’s University is one of those schools working to re-envision transfer articulation. The transfer articulation table at Elon University is unique in that the data is both internal, for enrolled students, and outward-facing to help prospective students determine how their credit will transfer to Elon. Our transfer data also includes a robust number of international affiliates recorded through study abroad opportunities. The goal for moving forward is to expand our articulation table to reflect credit for badges and certificates. 

As an early partner with Credential Engine, Elon has already modified Colleague to be able to download badges and other forms of non-standard credentials from the Credential Engine site. The goal with the new table design is to evaluate badges and articulate them in the transfer articulation table so all students, enrolled or prospective, will know how their credentials will transfer. The articulation of non-academic credentials allows Elon to recognize learners’ knowledge gleaned from a variety of sources and experiences. As a result, Elon will be able to collaborate with multiple industry and community partners who teach valuable skills that have yet to be articulated into the classroom.

How it will work

Elon currently allows students to search equivalencies using a multitude of different criteria. Students can currently search Elon’s transfer articulation table by institution, Elon equivalency, or a specific Core Curriculum requirement (Expression, Civilization, Society, Science, Advanced Studies, World Language or First Year Foundation). 


By the fall term, Elon will add Badges and Other Credit Types to the articulation table, expanding the types of credit accepted. For example, for badging, Elon will show the Entity awarding the badge (i.e. IBM), the title of the badge, the course equivalent and corresponding title and an image of the badge itself. A future enhancement would be to also hyperlink the badge to a badging source, if available. 


Micro-credentials offer learners a way to expand knowledge and showcase new skills. Many of these credentials have substantive requirements, including competencies and well defined outcomes. As faculty approve new credit types, registrars can use existing technologies to highlight new opportunities for current and potential students. Each institution will need to decide on a process for evaluating and granting institutional credit, but once in place, articulation can expand exponentially. Future partnerships with Badgr, Credly and other badging entities can help intuitions verify the micro-credential awarded and provide the information necessary to award the credit. 

Do you have any questions for the author or about transfer articulation?  If so, please contact AACRAO Consulting at


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