State makes moves to expedite transfer credits from Community Colleges to Four Year Universities

When Ben Wood transferred from Portland Community College to UO in 2016, he had to retake some courses because some credits did not transfer.

“If you have to take similar classes, it’s a waste of money. If I had known they would not transfer, I never would have taken those classes,” he said.

University representatives are working to expedite course transfers between community colleges and universities in the state of Oregon to become more cost-effective for students. The goal of the new policy is to address inefficient course transfers such as Wood’s, according to White.

Oregon’s Higher Education Curriculum Committee, or the HECC, brought up the issue of inefficient course equivalencies to the state of Oregon with House Bill 2998 that passed in August of 2017. It tasked the HECC to expand its group and come up with solutions for transferring credits between institutions within the state. The HECC will present its proposed changes in January of 2018.

Frances White, professor and chair of the UO Curriculum Committee, worked within the HECC in the Faculty-Driven Transfer Workgroup to create a policy that streamlines transferring between institutions within the state. The workgroup is made up of representatives from all public community colleges and universities, students, faculty and administrators. White serves as the UO representative in the working group.

Transfer agreements have been a recognized ongoing issue and have affected a lot of students, according to White. Streamlining the process is complicated because each university has different general education requirements and each major has different prerequisite courses.

According to the HECC website, the bill was passed as a result of the collaboration of the HECC, community colleges, universities and lawmakers. The bill directs the HECC to “bring together community colleges and universities to establish common foundational curricula of at least 30 credits.”

On Oct. 18th, White spoke at the University Senate meeting. She said that the HECC is in the first phase of implementing the new policy and are currently coming up with solutions. They will report solutions to the state in January 2018, when they will begin finalizing changes to be in place by fall 2018.

There are already some policies set in place between certain community colleges and universities. This change is hoped to make the policy apply to all public institutions in the state of Oregon, according to White.

For example, UO and Lane Community College share specific transfer agreements, such as the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree, or the AAOT, which fulfills the general education requirements for UO. Similarly, other universities within the state of Oregon share transfer agreements with their local community colleges. The workgroup plans to apply agreements like these across the entire state of Oregon so that a student can transfer from any institution to another quickly and cost-effectively, White said.

Students from universities and community colleges serve on the workgroup to ensure student perspectives are represented. The group has also reviewed the data of transfer students and their transferable credits in recent years to reach their solutions.

“We as faculty always benefit from the student perspective,” White said.

White said they are working to create a policy that “balances all of the needs and interests of the various students so that they can transfer as much credit as possible, while still getting the background that they need.”

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Hannah Kanik

Hannah Kanik

Hannah Kanik is a News Reporter. She is a sophomore majoring in Journalism and Political Science and loves coffee and classic movies.