March 12, 2014

Initiative to help more students receive an associate degree

Missouri’s efforts to establish a  “reverse transfer” program to help more students earn an associate degree has been recognized by the Lumina Foundation, a national organization working to increase the number of Americans with high-quality college degrees and professional certificates.

The Missouri Reverse Transfer Program creates a statewide policy that allows a student to transfer college credit from a four-year university to a two-year college the student has attended in order to complete requirements for an associate degree.

The program is currently being piloted at 11 colleges and universities in the state.

“Missouri is a leader in this work,” Holly Zanville, strategy director for the Lumina Foundation, wrote in a letter to the Missouri Department of Higher Education. “Your project’s careful planning, development of a reasonable timeline, positive policy environment and institutional roll-out steps are well-conceived and show great promise for a successful statewide reverse transfer program.”

Higher-education officials say the reverse transfer program is designed to assist students who have earned a significant number of college credits but have not received an associate or bachelor degree. Through the program, students who have completed the required community college credits can qualify for an associate degree after they have transferred to a four-year college or university or if they are not currently attending college.

Students must have at least 15 hours of credit from a two-year college to be eligible to receive an associate degree from that institution.

Legislation approved by the Missouri General Assembly in 2012 called for the state to develop a reverse transfer policy for Missouri’s two- and four-year colleges and universities. A committee comprised of officials from the higher-education institutions and the Missouri Department of Higher Education began work on a policy that would meet the needs of students and the institutions.

A statewide technology and communication system to streamline the sharing of grade transcripts also had to be developed.

Two-year and four-year colleges and universities were paired up for the pilot project in 2013. The partnering institutions are:

·         Columbia College and Moberly Area Community College

·         Missouri State University and Ozarks Technical Community College

·         Missouri Western State University and Metropolitan Community College

·     Missouri Western State University and North Central Missouri College

·     Northwest Missouri State University and Metropolitan Community College

·         University of Missouri-Columbia and Moberly Area Community College

·         University of Missouri-St. Louis and St. Louis Community College

The pilot project will conclude in June. Plans are being made to expand the program to all public two- and four-year colleges and universities and participating private colleges in Missouri this fall.

“Through the reverse transfer program, Missouri’s two-year and four-year institutions are working to improve college completion rates in the state and award students the degrees they have earned,” said David Russell, Missouri commissioner of higher education. “These degrees can help open doors to more career opportunities, higher paying jobs and a better quality of life.”

For more information about the Missouri Reverse Transfer Program, visit www.dhe.mo.gov/MissouriReverseTransferforstudents.php.

 

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