A Holistic Approach to Transferring Credits
Inside Higher Ed
November 30, 2022
Students are obtaining postsecondary education from more places than ever—on-the-job training, military service and high school dual enrollment, to name a few, in addition to two-year and four-year colleges. That makes the already-challenging process of transferring credits from one institution to another that much more complex.
A new report by Ithaka S+R, the research arm of the academic technologies nonprofit Ithaka, outlines a detailed framework—referred to as “holistic credit mobility”—that aims to ensure students get credit for any higher learning they do, no matter where, without having to repeat any courses or subjects they have already completed.
Colleges and universities have long struggled to find the best ways to transfer credits across institutions, as well as count education received outside of traditional institutions of higher learning (known as prior learning assessments). According to the Government Accountability Office, students lose approximately 43 percent of their credits upon transferring from one institution to another.
The Ithaka S+R report outlines three key vehicles that institutions, higher education systems and state governments can use to combat disappearing credits and address shortcomings in existing transfer policies: technological tools, policy and responsive practices.
Technological tools include everything from a basic online transfer catalog to more advanced tools that automatically match course equivalents or allow students to track their own learning. For instance, the report cites a tool created by Ithaka S+R and the City University of New York that “display[s] easy-to-navigate, real-time data on how any course taken at any CUNY college will be treated if a student transfers to any other CUNY college.”