This comparison reviews four transfer metrics in all 50 states:

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.

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

Statewide 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.

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

A state received a “yes” if its policy requires all public four-year and two-year institutions to comply. Education Commission of the States searched state legislation and board/commission policies. Sources do not include state programs, individual institution policies or state initiatives; but it is noted in the description when states utilize the latter three sources.

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.
  • Sixteen states have reverse transfer policies set in legislation. An additional 23 states provide reverse transfer opportunities outside of legislation, including through institutional agreements, MOUs and statewide programs.
  • 2018 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. Transferable Core of Lower-Division Courses
  3. Statewide Common Course Numbering
  4. Statewide Guaranteed Transfer of Associate Degree
  5. Reverse Transfer

Related Resources

Staff Contact
Lexi Anderson

 PUBLISHED: June 12, 2018




 STATE(S): Nationwide

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