FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: William Gil
Director, Government Relations
The Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act Reintroduced
in the 118th Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 16, 2023) – Lawmakers from both parties and chambers of Congress (U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Mike Braun (R-IN), along with U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse (D-CO), John Curtis (R-UT), and Joaquin Castro (D-TX)) this week reintroduced The Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act to assist institutions in identifying students who have earned enough credits to be awarded an associate’s degree through reverse transfer. The legislation would establish a new exemption under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to permit the disclosure of students' postsecondary coursework and credit information to an institution the student was previously enrolled at for the sole purpose of applying such coursework and credits toward completion of a recognized postsecondary credential.
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 FERPA standards that consent is obtained by the institution from the student before awarding a credential.
"This legislation is an important step that will enable institutions to increase learner attainment of a quality credential, which translates into better paying jobs, for millions of in individuals," said Melanie Gottlieb, AACRAO Executive Director. “The additional FERPA exception proposed represents a responsible means of sharing student information between a student's 4-year and 2-year institutions in a way that both protects student privacy and supports the completion agenda.”
The National Need to Increase Education Attainment
The American Action Forum estimates that at the current production rate in higher education, our economy will face a shortage of 8.6 million workers with the necessary education and training by 2029. 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.
The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) has identified over 4 million individuals who have completed enough credit hours at a four-year institution to be eligible for an associate’s degree, but instead withdrew without 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 that the student was previously enrolled.
"The incorporation of reverse transfer as a tool within the higher education community would provide a much needed tool for colleges and universities to recognize credits that students have earned that did not result in the awarding of a degree or certificate," stated Gottlieb. “Moreover, this will assist increase college education attainment levels and meet future workforce needs.”
The Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act has broad support
from the higher education community, including the American Association of Community Colleges, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, and Student Veterans of America, as well as over 25 higher education systems from across the country and numerous State and Regional ACRAOs.
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.