Proposed bill would allow students to reverse transfer college credits

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 5:07 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Senator Mark Warner was among a group of senators who introduced a bill this week that, if passed, would allow students to reverse transfer their credits from a four-year university to community colleges.

According to The National Student Clearinghouse, four million students 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.

The reverse transfer would allow students to get the credit they deserve.

“We could get them possibly an associates degree, if they only take a couple of classes with us because of the number of credits they’ve had in their background,” Dr. John Downey, President of Blue Ridge Community College, said.

There is a minimum number of credits you have to take at an institution in order to qualify for a degree there. For BRCC, a student would have to complete 25 percent of the degree at Blue Ridge, which would equate to five or six courses. All other credits received from a previous college would go toward finishing that degree requirement.

The bill would improve data sharing among higher education institutions to identify who these students are and be more proactive in helping them get a degree for the credits they have already earned.

“They don’t realize sometimes just how much having a degree can get for them, so I think having this opportunity, even if the legislation isn’t passed right away, we can work with them individually and get them very close to what they need to get a better life for themselves,” Downey said.

Downey adds that many students often transfer to a four-year institution without completing their associates degrees or certificates, but he thinks this legislation would encourage more students to become graduates of their community college.

“If you are close to an associates degree, it is in your best interest, in most cases, there are some exceptions, but in most cases, it is in your best interest to finish that associates degree,” Downey said. “Then you have a degree that is marketable, that will help you get a better job, and then you can transfer to the four-year college or university, usually seamlessly.”

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