This comparison reviews four transfer metrics in all 50 states:

Common course numbering: A uniform numbering convention used at all public postsecondary institutions for lower-division courses.

Transferable core of lower-division courses: A set of general education courses agreed upon across all public postsecondary institutions. It must be fully transferable at all public institutions. Institutions may have different naming conventions; however, if that is the case, there is a crosswalk for institutions to use in the transfer process.

Guaranteed transfer of an associate degree: Guarantees students who are awarded an associate degree before transfer to a four-year institution can transfer all of their credits to the four-year institution and enter at the junior-standing level. The majority of policies state that students are not required to complete any further general education courses unless required for a specific major.

Reverse transfer: Allows all public institutions to implement the process of retroactively granting an associate degree to students who have not completed the requirements of an associate degree before they transferred to a four-year institution.

A state received a “yes” if their policy includes participation from all public four-year and two-year institutions. Education Commission of the States searched state legislation, board/commission policies and memorandums of understanding. Sources do not include state programs, individual institution policies or state initiatives. States that utilize the latter three sources are highlighted in the description section.

Click on the metrics below for 50-State Comparisons showing how all states approach these policies. Or view a specific state’s approach by going to the individual state profiles page.

Key Takeaways

  • At least 30 states have policies requiring a transferable core of lower-division courses and statewide guaranteed transfer of an associate degree.
  • Twenty-two states have reverse transfer policies set in legislation, board policy or memorandums of agreement. An additional 19 states provide reverse transfer opportunities through institutional agreements and statewide programs.
  • 2020 is seeing the refinement of multiple statewide transfer policies, pointing to a commitment to increase student completion rates.

50-State Comparisons

  1. All data points for all states
  2. Common course numbering
  3. Transferable core of lower-division courses
  4. Guaranteed transfer of associate degree
  5. Reverse transfer

Related Resources

 PUBLISHED: February 24, 2020




 STATE(S): Nationwide

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