A new study reported on by Inside Higher Ed this morning argues that “lost credits” is the primary reason why community college students who go on to four-year institution are much less likely to earn their degree.
An excerpt from “Starting All Over Again” on Inside Higher Ed:
David B. Monaghan, a doctoral student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and Paul Attewell, a professor of education there, are the study’s co-authors. They found that lost credits – either for community college courses that four-year institutions did not accept or did not count toward a major – were a serious stumbling block for many transfer students.
Inefficiencies around the transfer of credits have a “substantial effect on whether you graduate,” Monaghan said.
Many students must retake courses they completed in community college.
“About 14 percent of transfer students in the study essentially began anew after transferring,” according to the paper. “Their new institution accepted fewer than 10 percent of their community college credits.”
Excelsior College meanwhile seeks to eliminate the need for transfer students to duplicate coursework through a broader transfer acceptance policy than its peer institutions. As a result, among newly enrolled students, in the 2012-2013 academic year the College accepted approximately 675,000 hours of undergraduate credit in transfer from faculty approved sources. Many of these credits had been previously earned at community colleges.
Based on Excelsior’s undergraduate credit hour cost, the economic value of the credit it accepted in transfer for that year alone was approximately $262 million. Excelsior refers this number as its Knowledge Value Index.
The College’s acceptance of these valid credits toward its degree requirements means these students, their families and benefactors – including federal and state sponsored grant and scholarship programs – did not have to pay for them a second time.
Those outside of higher education recognize the value and importance of transfer policy on college affordability.
According to a 2011 survey by the Zogby organization, three-fourths of America’s business leaders viewed the acceptance of transfer credit as a solution to help reduce the cost of a college education. About half of adults nationwide in a 2012 Zogby poll cited the acceptance of transfer credit as a way to reduce the cost of a college education.