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New Reverse Transfer Plan

Published: March 30, 2016

OLYMPIA, Washington - An innovative agreement between Eastern Washington University and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) will facilitate the reverse credit-transfer process to ensure students earn their academic associates (AA) degree.

To make reverse transfer more accessible and student-friendly, EWU and SBCTC will leverage existing technology to share data automatically. Eastern is the only public university in Washington to opt transfer students into this program when they apply to the university.

"If students complete the coursework for a degree, they should get it," said Dr. Joyce Hammer, SBCTC director of transfer education. "Getting a two-year associate degree is a great motivator on the way to a bachelor's degree and adds one more credential to a resume. For students who are working their way through college, the two-year degree can make a difference in their employability right away."

The program allows community and technical college students who transfer to EWU without first completing an associate degree to now send their Eastern credits back to their original two-year college to finish the AA degree. After the credit information is shared, the two-year college will determine whether the student has met the requirements for an associate degree. The agreement applies to transfer students who have already completed 60 credits at a community or technical college.

Typical reverse transfer agreements rely on the student to initiate the transfer of credits back to the community college. However, many students don't know that credits earned at the four-year institution may transfer back to the community college and count toward the associate degree. As a result, reverse transfer is widely underutilized.

Administrators believe the agreement will move Washington closer to its goal of increasing the number of adults with college credentials.

"This is all about college completion," said EWU President Mary Cullinan. "We have a proud tradition of smoothly transferring students from community and technical colleges to Eastern Washington University. It makes good sense to allow credits to flow the other way to round out an associate degree."

While the reverse-credit transfer agreement is a boost for students, there are clear benefits to finishing up an associate degree before transferring in the first place, according to Hammer. Associate degree completers will generally land at the junior level at the university, having already met their lower division general education requirements for a bachelor's degree.

The agreement, which applies to 34 community and technical colleges in Washington, has been signed by both agencies and is now in effect.


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