Reverse Transfer 101
Help is coming from an unexpected quarter, however: the four-year institutions to which such students transfer. Our institutions, the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Massachusetts at Boston, along with others across the country, have established systems to ensure that transfer students with significant credits from two-year colleges are awarded associate degrees once they have completed the necessary coursework at their new institutions.
The University of Texas at El Paso, in a pioneering arrangement with El Paso Community College, has developed a fully automated reverse-transfer system that allows transfer students to earn their final credits at the university, then have those credits sent back to the community college. A Title V Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program grant from the Department of Education enabled the two institutions to create the EPCC-UTEP Transfer Program, a seamless electronic environment of shared student services. The new data-sharing agreements, along with the student-information system's degree-audit program, allows the university to track down students who have completed a minimum of 25 percent of their degree at community college, as required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Those students can fulfill the balance of the associate-degree requirements at the university, then receive their degrees from El Paso Community College, complete with a festive graduation celebration. Up go the graduation rates at the community college, up goes the self-esteem of the newly credentialed student, and up goes the retention rate at the university: It's the ultimate win-win situation.