Missouri discussing new reverse transfer policies

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JEFFERSON CITY- More efficient policies and communication could be the key to allowing students to more easily obtain an associate's degree when they transfer to a four-year university. 

The Missouri Department of Higher Education is meeting in Jefferson City on Thursday and Friday to discuss better reverse transfer policies. 

Reverse transferring allows students' credits obtained at a university to count towards an associate's degree after they transfer from a community college. 

Director of the Office of Community College Research Debra Bragg said securing any degree is vital for people as they look for work. 

"More and more occupations require that students have a year or two of college," Bragg said. "The awarding of a credential is really important to signify to an employer that a student has obtained the competencies they need to do the job."

Bragg is presenting research she has gathered from twelve different states to show which reverse transfer practices have worked best. 

She said one major detail that institutions could improve is obtaining students' consent for credentials immediately when they transfer from a community college to a university.

"That's a great time because students are already filling out forms and answering a lot of questions," Bragg said. "If they do that, the school doesn't have to go back and ask them later on."

Missouri is one of fifteen states that are part of the Credit When It's Due initiative, which is a national grant program that seeks to implement these more effective policies. 

Compared to the other states, Bragg said Missouri is slower when it comes to enacting these policies. 

"Missouri has taken a really deliberate approach and involved a lot of people in its policy-making," Bragg said. 

Bragg will make her full presentation of her cross-state research at the Capitol Plaza Hotel Friday morning.