Aim Higher and PROSPER Find HEA Common Ground on Reverse Transfer
Washington, D.C. - Earlier this week, Ranking Member Bobby Scott and the Democratic Committee introduced the Aim Higher Act. Although the bill text is not yet available, the summary highlights some key reforms that stand in sharp contrast to the Education Committee Chair Virginia Foxx’s Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill, Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, H.R. 4508. While clashing on issues such as access and affordability, both bills find common ground around college completion by means of Reverse Transfer.
Momentum is Building
As the nation works toward increasing higher education attainment, the higher education community continues to look for innovative solutions to increase degree completion rates. Reverse Transfer is simple and effective as it permits institutions to transfer back credits from a four-year institution to a previously attended two-year institution for the purpose of facilitating the awarding of a degree or certificate. The incorporation of Reverse Transfer as a practice within the higher education community would provide a much needed flexibility to increase college education attainment levels and prove to be beneficial to meeting future workforce needs.
However, there are currently no processes or guidelines for sharing student credit information from four-year to two-year year institutions for the possible award of degrees or certificates from a two-year institution. As such, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) has worked closely with Congressional offices to ensure legislative language increases the flexibility to complete an assessment of student records while still adhering to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) standards.
AACRAO is pleased to see this language introduced in the Aim Higher Act in addition to its inclusion in U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA)’s bipartisan bill, the Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act, S. 3066, and the bipartisan bills H.R. 3774, S. 2986 and S. 3066, and led by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
“This language has broad support from the higher education community, which is why over 20 higher education systems from across the country as well as several higher education associations and State and Regional associations, support this additional flexibility,” stated Michael Reilly, Executive Director, AACRAO, “It just makes sense.”
The Aim Higher Act and PROSPER Act have a long road of compromise ahead. Reverse Transfer could be the start they need to reach common ground.
AACRAO is a non-profit, voluntary, professional association of more than 11,000 higher education professionals representing approximately 2,600 institutions in more than 40 countries. Its commitment to the professional development of its members includes best practice guidance on admissions strategies to meet institutional diversity objectives, delivery of academic programs in innovative ways to meet the needs of a changing student body, and exemplary approaches to student retention and completion.