Reverse transfer – the process of retroactively awarding an associate degree to eligible students – is gaining traction in states across the country. Though the process is complex and often unique, policymakers can look to common decision points when working to implement reverse transfer policies in their own state.

A new report from Education Commission of the States, Reverse Transfer: Paving the pathway, examines reverse transfer policies and the implementation strategies states have used thus far. A handful of state examples are included.

“States are taking several distinct approaches to implement reverse transfer policies,” said Lexi Anderson, a policy analyst for Education Commission of the States. “Many times, specific guidance on implementation is not laid out in statute and is left to interpretation once legislation is enacted.”

This education policy analysis, the second in a series of three reports on reverse transfer policies, provides an overview of how several states have approached implementation of reverse transfer policies, including:

  • Decision-making on who has oversight of the implementation process.
  • What technology tools are utilized to support implementation.
  • Funding streams for reverse transfer programs.
  • Processes for identifying students eligible for program participation.

Some important takeaways from this report:

  • Implementation of reverse transfer policies involves multiple factors, including policy oversight, funding, technology and student identification.
  • Use of technology can positively and negatively impact the success of implementation of a policy, hence it can be a key component to reverse transfer policy implementation and degree conferral.
  • The lack of long-term funding for technology and staffing poses a potential constraint on the impact of a reverse transfer policy.

For questions, contact Education Commission of the States Communications Specialist Brady Delander at or (303) 299.3622.

Tweet this ECS report!

  • New @edcommission report on how states approach implementation of reverse transfer policies:
  • Key reverse transfer implementation factors: policy oversight, funding, tech & student identification @edcomission
  • 10 states require public institutions to retroactively award associate degrees to eligible students @edcommission

Related ECS resources that you’ll find useful:

 PUBLISHED: August 20, 2015

 AUTHOR(S): Unspecified



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