Students earn online degrees … retroactively

Community college students who transferred to Connecticut’s four-year online college program before completing their associate’s degree could be eligible to receive the degrees retroactively.

onlineThe initiative, known as a reverse-transfer program, will allow Naugatuck Valley Community College to issue associate’s degrees to students who successfully completed at least 15 credits at Naugatuck and continued their course work at the online Charter Oak State College.

Naugatuck Valley Community College, which has campuses in Waterbury and Danbury, is the first in Connecticut to adopt the program.

Other community colleges around the state are expected to follow and Western Connecticut State University is considering participating in the program.

“This is something that has become popular in other states but has not been done in Connecticut before,” NVCC spokeswoman Allison O’Leary said Monday.

To be eligible, students would complete at least 45 credits at Charter Oak, for a total of 60 credits, and meet other requirements to obtain an associate’s degree.

Charter Oak officials have identified about 80 students from the past three years who immediately meet the criteria for the associate’s degree.

On the one hand, this will boost the community college graduation rate, O’Leary said, since a lot of people start there and leave without a degree.