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FHSU implements new reverse transfer agreement





Fort Hays State University is implementing a system-wide reverse transfer agreement as a result of a resolution signed by all 32 public postsecondary institution presidents.

This agreement was passed during the last Board of Regents meeting.

Effective this fall, reverse transfer is the ability to transfer university coursework from a four-year university to a community college, similar to the way community college classes are transferred to a four-year university.

"The idea was, why not, as a state, come up with a consistent mechanism, so no matter what community college and Regents school, we have a reverse transfer procedure," said Joey Linn, associate vice president for student affairs at Fort Hays State University.

Transfer students who have a minimum of 45 transferable hours from a community college are eligible for reverse transfer.

Linn said most associate's degrees require 60 to 64 hours. If a student decides to take part in reverse transfer, FHSU will work with the community college to ensure the student takes the remaining credits to hit the 60- to 64-hour requirement.

"When the student transfers, we will send their transcript to the community college," Linn said. "It's up to them to say what classes the student should take and transfer back, and then they will award the student with their associate's degree. It's a courtesy to students."

Students can opt out of the program. Linn said that could happen because students know their career goals and don't think they need to get their associate's degree.

"One of the Regents goals is to give credentials to more students in Kansas," Linn said. "This is another credential. Not everyone who attends a community college, then a Regent school ends up getting a bachelor's degree because life happens. At least they can get their associate's degree, and no one can take that away from them."

The policy will begin this fall, although FHSU always has worked to accommodate students, said Jon Armstrong, assistant director of admissions and transfer coordinator.

"We've always worked with community colleges really well," Armstrong said. "Other universities used to require students have their associate's before transferring under the transfer articulation agreement."

The transfer articulation agreement essentially requires students to have 45 credit hours of general education.

The reverse transfer policy still requires transfer students to have 45 credit hours, but they don't necessarily need to be general education credits.

"Sometimes it might make more sense for students to meet the 45-hour transfer articulation agreement," Linn said. "But sometimes they want to transfer now. Every personal situation is different."

In order to ease students in the transfer process, a degree analyst is sent with an admissions counselor every time he or she visits a community college.

"They'll do a degree audit for students on the spot," Armstrong said. "We're the only university that does that. That way the student knows exactly where they will be and don't have any surprises."

The reverse transfer policy will help with graduation rates for both the community college and FHSU.

"Every school has goals they have to meet, and graduation rate is a big deal," Armstrong said.

"Soon, the education system is going to rely on graduation rates," Armstrong said. "If the community college is not graduating a certain number of students, it could determine their state aid."

From the FHSU perspective, Armstrong said a student coming in as junior status is going to have a much higher rate of completion to get a bachelor's degree, since the student "can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

"It's all about the students," Linn said. "We want to get them to walk across that stage. Every student who comes as a transfer student, it's our duty to get them to the finish line as long as they do the work."