A new data-supported initiative known as Reverse Transfer could award up to two million students associate degrees.
The University of Texas at Austin is leading a national initiative with other top universities and the National Student Clearinghouse to help transfer students earn associate degrees for coursework they complete through Reverse Transfer, the first national service to award degrees to students after they transfer to a four-year university.
Earning an associate degree can provide a major morale boost, as research shows that students who have received one are more likely to complete their undergraduate education. Earning the degree also improves employment opportunities for those who attended a four-year university, even if they did not finish.
The project has the potential to award up to two million students associate degrees, which represents 78 percent of students who transferred from a community college to a four-year institution without a degree.
Essentially, reverse transfer of credits takes place when a four-year institution retroactively transfers student credits back to any two-year institution from which a student has transferred. It does not matter if the student transferred to another associate degree program or four-year university first, attended public or private institutions, or transferred across state lines.
Colleges are also able to identify and reach out to students who are a few credits short of receiving their associate degrees in order to encourage them to complete the necessary coursework.
“Most of our transfer students come from Austin Community College, and it’s important we make sure they receive a degree for the work they have earned,” said Shelby Stanfield, vice provost and registrar at UT Austin. “We know students who are awarded their associate degrees are more likely to earn an undergraduate degree and have greater earning power when they graduate. This is going to help students here on our campus today and across Texas.”
(Next page: The tech and legislation behind Reverse Transfer)