Students may be eligible to receive reverse transfer degree

by Danny Bush In spring, Maricopa County Community College District will finalize plans made for a Reverse-Transfer Project partnership in order that students may receive Associate Degree retroactively after having transferred to Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University or University of Arizona. A $500,000 grant received from the Helios Foundation will be used as needed funding.

This project, which has been in the works since last spring, is being created in order to provide students who have transferred to these public schools—and now to Grand Canyon University—with an Associate degree with less burden placed on the student.

“There are several states who are participating in it and reporting outcomes,” said Rose Rojas about how arrangements like this are being made on a nationally trending level. Rojas, who is the Interim Director, Center for Curriculum and Transfer Articulation plays a vital role in ensuring that students will be able to receive Associate degrees as a step in pursuit of higher education.

At the end of January, an agreement was entered to finalize the formation of the Reverse Transfer Project. The District is now looking to obtain the necessary technology and qualified personnel to spearhead the project.

Students can expect to be able to opt in or out of this arrangement as they sign up to transfer to a university without having received an Associate degree. Rojas hopes that by the end of spring this will be an option for all who want to transfer or who have transferred. “The biggest challenge would be the population of students we are dealing with,” said Rojas. The entire MCCCD will have this option available.

The reverse transfer isn’t the first option, however. “We would like students to complete a degree before they transfer,” said Rojas. Rojas referenced the dedicated advising and scholarships that are attached with completing an Associate degree.

A reverse transfer will be seen as a step that can be taken by a student who is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. Rojas emphasized the importance of having a back-up. ““You want to make sure you have at least one credential underneath your belt,” said Rojas, “At least you’ll have something to refer back to in case life happens.”

Since many students skip the Associate degree and head straight for university, Rojas sees it as an option to reward success and to give students an upper hand. Rojas said in reference to student who transfer without receiving a degree that, “[w]e don’t want to penalize students, so there is the second option of the reverse transfer arrangement.”

Currently, students can receive an Associate degree retroactively by talking to an adviser of both their current school and the college they originally attended. An unofficial evaluation of transcripts is made and degrees can still be rewarded.

Rojas placed emphasis on how this project will take that burden off of students and place it in the hands of these partnerships. That way, as long as a student doesn’t opt out, when he or she transfers to a university, it will allow for credits to be examined and opportunities to be offered.

“We’re very excited to be able to provide this to our students because we want to acknowledge student success,” said Rojas. More information can be found by talking to an academic adviser and by keeping an eye on Maricopa’s blogspot.

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