Reverse Transfer Continues to Garner National Attention as an Effective Tool to Increase Educational Attainment
Washington, DC - Lawmakers from both parties and chambers of Congress on Wednesday reintroduced legislation (H.R. 2768, S.1490) to assist institutions in identifying students who have earned enough credits to be awarded an associate’s degree through reverse transfer. The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) worked closely with Congressional offices to ensure the legislative language increases the flexibility to complete an assessment of student records while still adhering to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) standards.
U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) reintroduced the bipartisan Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act, which would establish a new exemption under FERPA to permit the disclosure of students' postsecondary coursework and credit information to an institution the student was previously enrolled at for the purpose of applying such coursework and credits toward completion of a recognized postsecondary credential.
“AACRAO believes the additional FERPA exception proposed in the Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act legislation represents a responsible means of sharing student information between a student's 4-year and 2-year institution, while ensuring that the student's consent is obtained before awarding a degree or certificate,” stated AACRAO's Executive Director, Michael Reilly. “This legislation will lead to increased education attainment for millions of individuals.”
The National Need to Increase Education Attainment
As the nation works toward increasing higher education attainment, the higher education community is looking for innovative solutions to increase degree completion rates for students enrolled in higher education. Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce estimates that at the current production rate in higher education, the economy will face a shortage of 5 million workers with the necessary education and training by 2020*.
The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) has identified more than 4 million individuals who have completed more than 60 credit hours, but were not awarded a degree or certificate*. Nearly 50 percent of four-year college graduates between 2005 and 2015 attended a two-year college. However, studies show 78 percent of students who transfer from a two-year to a four-year institution do so without a degree.
Reverse transfer, the transfer of credits from a four-year institution to a two-year institution from which a student transferred for the purpose of facilitating the awarding of a degree or certificate, has been gaining traction as institutions and states seek new ways to recognize credits that students have earned that did not result in the awarding of a degree or certificate. Currently, there are 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.
“This legislation has broad support from the higher education community, which is why over 25 higher education systems from across the country as well as several higher education associations and State and Regional associations, support this additional flexibility,” stated Reilly. “It just makes sense.”
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.
The Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act is supported by organizations including American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO), American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), and Student Veterans of America (SVA).
The legislation is also supported by numerous higher education systems including the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, the City University of New York (CUNY), Colorado Department of Higher Education, Colorado Community College System, Des Moines Area Community College, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Ivy Tech Community College, Maricopa County Community College District, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, North Carolina Community College System, North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Oregon Community College Association, Salt Lake Community College, the State of Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the State University of New York System (SUNY), the Tennessee Board of Regents, the University of Colorado - All Campuses, the University of Tennessee System, the University System of Georgia, the University of Texas System, Virginia Community College System, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, and the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education.
State and Regional Associations of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers in support of the measure include the Rocky Mountain Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (RMACRAO), Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (SACRAO), Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (TACRAO), Indiana Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (IACRAO), Missouri Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (MACRAO), Kansas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (KACRAO), Middle States Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (MSACROA), Nebraska Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (NACRAO), Alabama Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (ALACRAO), and Chesapeake and Potomac Association of College Registrar and Admission Officers (CAPACARO), Tennessee Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (TACRAO), Virginia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (VACRAO), Pacific Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (PACRAO), Upper Midwest Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (UMACRAO), Washington Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions. Officers (WaACRAO)
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.