Bipartisan, bicameral legislation seeks to address college credit reverse transfers

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U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA, Mike Braun (R-IN), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently introduced legislation that would enable the “reverse transferring” of college credits to help identify whether enough credits have been earned for a degree.

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The Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act of 2021 would eliminate obstacles preventing students from receiving the degree or certification they have earned. Credit reverse transferring would move credits from a four-year institution to a two-year institution where a student was previously enrolled.

“A four-year college is not the only path to prosperity in this country, and community colleges are a vital and economical part of our education system,” Braun said. “Removing roadblocks on the path to attaining a degree from these institutions is overdue.”

The National Student Clearinghouse, an educational nonprofit that verifies enrollment data, found more than 4 million individuals have completed enough credit hours at a four-year institution to be eligible for an associate’s degree but withdrew without a degree or certificate.

The legislation would amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), creating an exemption for sharing student education records between higher education institutions and allowing for the sharing of credit data between post-secondary schools.

“In my district, Alamo Colleges is the largest provider of higher education in South Texas and proves that two-year programs are critical in preparing students for success beyond their hallways,” said U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), who joined U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse (D-CO) and John Curtis (R-UT) in presenting companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. “The Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act will allow these students to easily transition to four-year universities, like the University of Texas at San Antonio in my district, with an associate’s degree.”

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