Community College Research Initiatives

January 21, 2019

Understanding Reverse Credit Transfer

The latest studies in the Credit When It’s Due (CWID) initiative examine student perceptions of associate degrees and how reverse credit transfer influences retention and bachelor’s degree attainment.

CWID is a multi-state initiative designed to facilitate the implementation of reverse credit transfer policies and processes that benefit college students who have transferred from the community college to the bachelor’s level and have not secured an associate’s degree at the time of transfer. The initiative is designed to encourage partnerships between community colleges and universities to significantly expand programs that award associate degrees to transfer students while pursuing a bachelor’s degree. CCRI researchers have used the CWID data set to explore several aspects of this transfer – from credit loss to degree attainment and more. See the data notes and briefs published so far here. The most recent studies are outlined below.

Modeling the Effect of the Reverse Credit Transfer Associate’s Degree: Evidence from Two States

In December, Jason Taylor and Matt Giani published a study on the impact of reverse credit transfer on students in Hawaii and Minnesota. Taylor and Giani specifically asked how receiving an associate’s degree via credit transfer influences retention and bachelor’s degree attainment. Results showed mostly positive evidence with some null results, and the researchers found no evidence that reverse credit transfer negatively influences students’ progress toward the bachelor’s degree. See link to full journal article here, or download a PDF below.

Download Modeling PDF

Reverse Credit Transfer and the Value of the Associate’s Degree: Multiple and Contradictory Meetings

This study examines how transfer students perceive the value of an associate’s degree. By conducting five student focus groups, the researchers (Eden Cortes-Lopez and Jason Taylor) found that transfer students perceived the associate’s to be both beneficial and limiting. The results show the potential of the associate’s degree via reverse credit transfer as a way to support students’ progress toward the bachelor’s degree. However, the findings suggest that all transfer students do not equally value or understand the purpose of the associate’s degree. The researchers provide recommendations for policy, practice, and future research. See link to full journal article here, or download below.

Download Reverse Transfer PDF