WEST CHESTER (March 31) – Students who began their studies at Delaware County Community College and transferred to Cheyney University, West Chester University or another state system higher education university before earning an associate’s degree, may now be eligible for it under Pennsylvania’s new statewide Reverse Transfer Program, state Senator Andy Dinniman announced today.
Dinniman said that Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges and 14 state system of higher education universities have signed a statewide “reverse transfer” agreement. The agreement means that students who began their studies at a community college in Pennsylvania before transferring to a university in the state system can apply for an associate’s degree from the community college where they began, provided they have earned at least 60 total credits.
“Students who started their studies at a community college, before continuing to a state system university, may have already earned enough credits to receive their first degree,” Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “And now there is an easy way for them to get it, thanks to the new Reverse Transfer initiative.”
Receiving the degree could help enhance a student’s earning potential, even as he or she continues working toward a bachelor’s degree or other certification at a state system university.
“The goal is to ensure that students are properly credited for their work they have completed in a way that will benefit them as they prepare to enter the workforce or will help enable them to move up the career ladder,” Dinniman said. “Not only does the Reverse Transfer Program give those who transferred without a credential a pathway to their first degree, but it also ensures that they have an associate’s degree in case their studies toward a bachelor’s degree are interrupted for any reason in the future.”
Dinniman called the Reverse Transfer Program a credit to the state system universities and community colleges partnering together for the good of students across the Commonwealth. He also added that it will be particularly beneficial to students called into military service or others who may experience interruptions in pursuing their higher education.
According to officials, several state system universities already have reverse transfer agreements in place with their neighboring community college. This new agreement expands the program statewide, making it available to many more students.
Students who began their postsecondary education at any community college in Pennsylvania and earned a minimum of 45 credits before transferring to any State System university can participate in the new program. Eligible credits may include those earned through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Credit by Exam and the military.
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. Their state system credits will be transferred back to the community college and applied to the requirements for the associate’s degree.
The state system universities will identify eligible students once they complete the 60 total credits and invite them to participate in the reverse transfer program. If interested, the eligible students will fill out a release form and their state system university transcript will be sent to the community college for review and evaluation.
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. Many students likely already are eligible. Others could be once the current semester ends in May.
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.
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.