Automated Platform from the National Student Clearinghouse™ Supports Award of Up to Two Million Associate Degrees
HERNDON, VA, JULY 28, 2015 – The National Student Clearinghouse announces the general availability of its landmark Reverse Transfer service. As many as two million eligible students could be awarded an associate degree through Reverse Transfer, the first national automated solution to enable four- and two-year institutions to securely and efficiently exchange reverse transfer student data. There will be no fees for the service, which is available to any of the Clearinghouse’s more than 3,600 participating institutions.
Reverse transfer of credits occurs when a four-year institution transfers student credits back to any two-year institution from which a student has transferred. It doesn’t matter if the student transferred to another associate degree granting institution first or a bachelor’s level institution, attended public or private institutions, or transferred across state lines. If eligible, the student is then awarded an associate degree.
“Lone Star College is thrilled to have a national solution to receive and process reverse transfer transcripts. Not only does the National Student Clearinghouse solution cross state boundaries, but it also expedites the process of evaluating the transcripts, executing the degree audits, and awarding the degrees – all leading to increased student completion,” said Connie Garrick, Lone Star College System Director of Records and Enrollment Services/Registrar.
“The University of Texas at Austin strives to improve higher education access and resources to support student success, so more students earn high-quality degrees and enter the workforce prepared to succeed as global citizens. This is why UT Austin is actively involved with leading reverse transfer initiatives, including this new national data exchange platform,” said Shelby Stanfield, Vice Provost and Registrar at the University of Texas at Austin.
In its just-released Transfer & Mobility report, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that community colleges make an important contribution to college completion. Nearly a quarter of students who started at a community college transferred to a four-year institution within six years, but only one in eight did so after receiving a credential. In its first transfer and mobility report, released in 2012, the Research Center found one in five students received a credential before transferring. This widening credentials gap is why many states and institutions are creating reverse transfer initiatives. The Clearinghouse’s Reverse Transfer service will help close the gap by awarding associate degrees to eligible transfer students.
Three universities and some of their degree granting institution partners are the first active users of the Clearinghouse platform and participated in its development: the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and the University of Missouri. As leaders within the postsecondary community, these universities recognize reverse transfer’s potential to improve higher education outcomes both at their own institutions and within their states, which also better positions states to attract new business.
“We are so pleased to be part of this innovative project because earning that first credential can be life changing,” said Brenda Selman, Registrar for the University of Missouri. “It is important for four-year institutions as well because helping a student earn an associate’s degree can be an encouragement to complete the bachelor’s degree,” she said.
Many states have recognized the importance of reverse transfer of credits and are developing programs, including Texas, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee. More are expected to follow suit. Most recently, the governor of Texas signed a bill, SB1714, into law that promotes reverse transfer degree awards and authorizes state institutions to use the Clearinghouse to exchange reverse transfer credits.
“In the case of Wisconsin, we have not legislated reverse transfer, so we have been working institution by institution through institutional agreements because we feel this is good for our students. Instead of each of us trying to develop our state solutions for reverse transfer, we thought it made sense to step back and trust an educational partner by leveraging existing infrastructure to reform some of the function and streamline data exchange functions needed to facilitate reverse transfer,” explained Scott Owczarek, University of Wisconsin-Madison Registrar. “Standardization and consistency are some of the key themes we benefit from with this national approach. Another benefit is each of our states have many students that transfer out of the state, and while our reverse transfer solution works well within our state, we lose the opportunity to award students with two-year degrees when they transfer to a four-year institution outside of our state.”
The Clearinghouse was awarded a Lumina Foundation grant to develop its Reverse Transfer solution and received additional funding and advisory assistance from a number of institutions and agencies. “Reverse Transfer was a true collaborative effort,” said Dr. David Pelham, Vice President, Higher Education Development and Client Relations at the Clearinghouse, “We are grateful for the support and assistance of our contributing partners as well as those institutions that served on our advisory committee.”
Those who contributed to the development of Reverse Transfer include: Lone Star College System; Michigan CWID Grantees; Missouri Department of Education; Ohio State University; Stanford University; University of Arizona; University of Kansas; University of Maryland, College Park; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; University of Missouri; University of Texas, Austin; and University of Wisconsin, Madison. Advisory committee participants include: Columbia College; Jefferson College; Madison College (aka Madison Area Technical College); Missouri State, the University of Missouri, St. Louis; and the University of Wisconsin Colleges.
Additional information on the Reverse Transfer solution and how to sign up are available at www.reversetransfer.org.
About the National Student Clearinghouse®
The National Student Clearinghouse (a nonprofit formed in 1993) is the trusted source for and leading provider of higher education verifications and electronic education record exchanges, handling more than 1.2 billion education record transactions annually. The Clearinghouse serves as a single point of contact for the collection and timely exchange of accurate and comprehensive enrollment, degree, and certificate records on behalf of its more than 3,600 participating higher education institutions, which represent 98 percent of all students in public and private U.S. institutions. The Clearinghouse also provides thousands of high schools and districts with continuing collegiate enrollment, progression, and completion statistics on their alumni.
Through its verification, electronic exchange, and reporting services, the Clearinghouse saves the education community cumulatively over $750 million dollars annually. Most Clearinghouse services are provided to colleges and universities at little or no charge, including enhanced transcript and research services, enabling institutions to redistribute limited staff and budget resources to more important student service efforts. Clearinghouse services are designed to facilitate an institution’s compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, The Higher Education Act, and other applicable laws. The Clearinghouse has signed the Student Privacy Pledge and is the first recipient of ikeepsafe.org’s FERPA compliance badge, which was awarded to its StudentTracker® for High Schools service. For more information, visit www.studentclearinghouse.org.