PA community colleges, State System universities sign statewide ‘reverse transfer’ agreement
Students who began their studies at Community College of Beaver County before transferring to a university within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education might already have earned enough credits to receive their first degree. Through the newly launched “reverse transfer” initiative, previous CCBC students can transfer back credits earned at a State System university in order to be awarded an associate degree.
The 14 community colleges in the state and 14 State System universities signed a statewide reverse transfer agreement that will allow students who have earned at least 60 total credits to apply for an associate’s degree from the community college where they started.
“As part of the committee for this initiative, I was able to see firsthand the benefits of partnering with other colleges and universities to help even more students achieve their goals at every level of education,” said Angela Hamilton, Director of Enrollment Services at CCBC. “We are proud of our alumni’s achievements and look forward to awarding their well-deserved associate degrees.”
Many students who initially enroll at a community college do so with the intent of eventually earning a bachelor’s degree, staying long enough to earn an associate degree before transferring to a four-year college or university. Some leave before earning a degree, either to transfer or to go directly into the workforce. The Reverse Transfer Program gives those who transferred without a credential a pathway to their first college degree.
“This new program expands the reverse transfer agreements we already had in place with other institutions and provides more students with the opportunity to obtain an associate degree while attending a State System university,” said CCBC President Dr. Chris Reber. “The agreement aligns with CCBC’s priorities of forming partnerships that support student success and creating opportunities for lifelong learning.”
Receiving the degree could immediately enhance the student’s earning potential, even as he or she continues working toward a bachelor’s degree or other certification or credential at a State System university. A student who earns an associate degree is more likely to complete the work necessary to receive a bachelor’s degree.
“The State System universities and the community colleges are natural partners,” said State System Chancellor Frank T. Brogan. “This agreement is another example of how we can work together on behalf of students all across the Commonwealth. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Students who began their postsecondary education at CCBC or any other community college in Pennsylvania and earned a minimum of 45 credits before transferring to any State System university can participate in the new program. A student must have enrolled at a State System university within five years of leaving the community college and have earned at least 15 additional credits at a State System university to be considered for the program.
The State System universities will identify eligible students and invite them to participate in the reverse transfer program. If approved, the community college will award the degree. Students will not be charged either a graduation or transcript fee by either institution involved. The first degrees could be awarded through the program as early as this summer.
Founded in 1966 and preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary, CCBC’s annual enrollment exceeds 3,600 credit students and an additional 3,200 non-credit students. CCBC is an Achieving the Dream Leader College and is embarking on a vision to grow its offerings and community engagement through partnerships and new program development. CCBC offers 71 degree, certificate and diploma programs and hundreds of Continuing Education and Workforce Development programs as well as seamless transfer to a growing number of baccalaureate and graduate institutions. The Aspen Institute recently named CCBC one of America’s 150 Best Community Colleges.
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of undergraduate and graduate education in the Commonwealth, with about 107,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more who are enrolled in certificate and other career-development programs. Collectively, the 14 universities that comprise the State System offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. Nearly 520,000 State System university alumni live in Pennsylvania.
The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. The universities also operate branch campuses in Oil City (Clarion), Freeport and Punxsutawney (IUP), and Clearfield (Lock Haven), and offer classes and programs at several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and in Center City in Philadelphia.
The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a voluntary membership association for Pennsylvania’s community colleges, which collectively are the largest providers of undergraduate education in the state, serving nearly 314,000 students in 2014-15.
Pennsylvania’s community colleges are Bucks County Community College, Butler County Community College, Community College of Allegheny County, Community College of Beaver County, Community College of Philadelphia, Delaware County Community College, HACC – Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Luzerne County Community College, Montgomery County Community College, Northampton Community College, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, Reading Area Community College and Westmoreland County Community College. The colleges operate 26 campuses and 84 instructional sites and centers, serving students from every county in the Commonwealth.