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Colleges and universities are expected to be more open about their student transfer requirements under a new measure introduced to Congress on Wednesday by U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro.
The goal, Castro says, is to help students who want to transfer schools lose college credits they’ve already earned.
Castro’s measure, the Transfer Student Transparency Act, would require two- and four-year schools to post information about financial aid and transfer deadlines on their websites, along with a list of all schools from which a student’s credits are guaranteed to be accepted.
The Federal Higher Education Act of 1965 requires schools to disclose their credit transfer policies, including a list of institutions with which they have transfer agreements, also known as articulation agreements. But current law does not require this information to be posted on a college or university’s website.
“Community college is an affordable and accessible way for many students to begin their education – but at too many schools, complicated transfer policies make it harder for transfer students to earn a four-year degree,” said Castro in a statement. “The Transfer Student Transparency Act will provide students with better information about college articulation agreements, preventing credit loss and helping students save valuable time and money while they continue their studies.
Nationally, only 30% of community college students transfer to four-year universities to further their education, and on average, these students lose 40% of their credits, requiring them to spend more time and money to repeat lessons. It also increases the risk that students will not complete their studies.
In Texas, 67% of students who transferred from a community college in the first year ended up completing their bachelor’s degree, compared to 86% of their classmates who started at a four-year university and stayed there. , according to a 2021 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board report. This same report also found that it took transfer students an average of 7.5 years to complete their bachelor’s degree, while students who started at a university and finished took 5.3 years to complete their bachelor’s degree.
According to another 2021 state report, 25% of transfer students enrolled in fall 2020 had at least one course rejected by the public four-year university to which they transferred. Common reasons include that the course did not meet the degree requirements or that the student did not achieve a high enough grade.
Castro’s bill would also amend the Higher Education Act to specify that schools must present this information online in an “easy to find” and “readable” manner.
“Official documents that specify which credits earned at one institution will be passed on to another often contain legalese to hold partners accountable instead of making it easier for students to understand,” Castro’s publicist Alexis Torres said in a statement. E-mail. “Also, because schools don’t have to specifically post this information on their website, students may have to spend more time researching this information.”
For years, federal officials have recommended such a requirement. A 2017 report from the US Government Accountability Office suggested that the US Department of Education require schools to provide information about articulation agreements and transfer resources online. According to the report, about 68% of public schools nationwide list this information on their websites. The report estimates that about 54% of private, nonprofit universities and 47% of for-profit schools list this information on their websites.
According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, all colleges and universities in Texas have pages on their websites dedicated to transfer students, but the level of information varies by school. According to the council’s 2021 report, 29 of the state’s 37 public universities list online requirements for the number of credits a student must take at that university to graduate. Only 28 universities list online their limits on the number of transfer credits they accept.
Texas community college leaders say more information is always better.
“Time is the enemy of graduation for many students,” Mike Flores, chancellor of the Alamo College District in San Antonio, said in a statement. “Our approach at Alamo Colleges of using comprehensive Transfer Counseling Guides (TAGs) coupled with connecting to a Certified Academic Counselor not only saves our students time, but also allows them to be career-ready. employment when they graduate from one of the Alamo colleges or transfer to a university.
In 2019, the state passed a law to facilitate the transfer process between two- and four-year schools. Part of this law requires schools to report to the state credits they do not accept from other schools. Before the law was passed, the state did not keep data on the credits students lost when they transferred.
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