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Reimagining Transfer for Student Success

March 2021

By the National Task Force on the Transfer and Award of Credit

for the American Council on Education (ACE)

Excerpt from the ACE website:

"The National Task Force on the Transfer and Award of Credit was convened by the American Council on Education (ACE) in March 2020 with the aim of improving transfer and award of credit practices to spur student success and reduce the cost and time to complete a degree. Composed of more than two dozen college and university presidents and chancellors from institutions nationwide—two- and four-year, public and private—the Task Force spent the past year assessing critical topics related to transfer and award of credit. Our work was bolstered by ex-officio Task Force members representing several higher education associations, regional accreditors, and experts and​ practitioners involved with transfer credit at their institutions.

The final report of the Task Force, Reimagining Transfer for Student Success, includes a call to action from college and university presidents and chancellors to their peers to improve transfer of credit policies and practices to better serve students by decreasing the cost and time to a degree. It provides six recommendations, highlighting best practices from a diverse set of campuses for each."

The recommendations, which are informed by "a series of white papers on critical topics related to the transfer and award of credit" that accompany the report include:

  1. Prioritize the award of transfer credit and credit for prior learning, and its application to degree requirements, as an essential component of student success. Embed this priority throughout the culture of your institution.

  2. Adjust your institution’s end-to-end policies and practices to improve the ability of students to receive credit for learning already acquired, including removing unnecessary obstacles that prevent students from accessing their transcripts to continue their education at another institution.

  3. Leverage innovative technologies to facilitate the review of credit, to provide greater consistency across credit award determinations, and to increase the efficiency and timeliness of the process.

  4. Improve transparency by making clear upfront what credits will be awarded and how they will be applied to a student’s degree pathway.

  5. Dedicate the resources necessary to ensure quality advising that provides students with early, knowledgeable, and personalized information and guidance at key points throughout the course of their learning pathway. Implement a cross-institutional advising approach with key transfer partners to the maximum extent possible.

  6. Partner with your most frequent sending or receiving transfer institutions to implement articulation agreements and structured pathways to increase the transfer and award of credit toward degree requirements.


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