Roebuck welcomes Pa. universities, community colleges' 'reverse transfer'

Agreement allows former community college students to obtain associate’s degree with credits they’ve already earned

HARRISBURG, March 31 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., welcomed Wednesday's signing of a "reverse transfer" agreement between Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges and the 14 State System universities. The initiative will allow students who have earned at least 60 total credits to apply for an associate’s degree from the community college where they started.

"In many cases, receiving an associate's degree could immediately increase the student’s earning potential, even as he or she continues working toward a bachelor’s degree or another certification or credential at a State System university. This reverse transfer agreement could be especially helpful for students called to military service, for example," said Roebuck, Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee.

Under the agreement, students who began their postsecondary education at any community college in Pennsylvania and earned a minimum of 45 credits before transferring to any State System university can participate in the new program. Eligible credits may include those earned through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Credit by Exam and the military.

A student must have enrolled at a State System university within five years of leaving the community college and have earned at least 15 additional credits at a State System university to be considered for the program. Their State System credits will be transferred back to the community college and applied to the requirements for the associate’s degree.

The State System universities will identify eligible students once they complete the 60 total credits and invite them to participate in the reverse transfer program. If interested, the eligible students will fill out a release form and their State System university transcript will be sent to the community college for review and evaluation.

If approved, the community college will award the degree. Students won't be charged either a graduation or transcript fee by either institution involved.

The first degrees could be awarded through the program as early as this summer. Many students likely already are eligible, according to the colleges. Others could be once the current semester ends in May.