Lost credits hurt transfer students

Lost credits make it difficult for community college transfers to earn a bachelor’s degree, concludes a new study. Fifty-eight percent of students transfer with at least 90 percent of their credits; 14 percent lose 90 percent or more of their credits.

The average full-time student completes 136.5 credits for a 120-degree bachelor’s degree, estimates Complete College America.

California’s associate degree for transfer is smoothing the path for community college graduates seeking bachelor’s degrees, but not all state universities are “saying yes” to transfer students.

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  1. Ann in L.A. says:

    Same things happen in K-12 as well, as some kids get moved around a lot between schools. KPCC (Los Angeles NPR station) did a story this week on how foster-care kids get lost, and how hard it is to keep track of the credits they need for graduation as they move around between schools.

    >>“Unfortunately, to be honest with you, we see a lot of the poor outcomes, because they fall between the cracks, because they are so highly mobile” said Debra Duardo, director of student health and human services for L.A. Unified.<>… Paige Fern, an advocate who works with foster youth took on his [Selvin, a foster care kid] over the summer after meeting him at a summer camp at UCLA called First Star.

    >>… Selvin said until Fern got involved, he didn’t know he was behind for graduation.

    >>“I didn’t know what I needed to graduate,” Selvin said. “I didn’t know how many credits I had.”

    >>Figuring it out was painstaking, Fern said. She found his grades weren’t always following him when he got to a new school.

    >>“We tracked every single grade, every attendance record, every behavior record, every special education record that was in existence,” Fern said, eventually recouping lost credits and developing a plan to graduate.<<


  2. Losing credits from a community or junior college to a 4 year institution is not unheard of, but in many cases, if the community or junior college has a transfer agreement in place, that will make the transition a LOT less painful.

    Students who plan to start at a community or junior college should always look at these options (core classes almost always transfer, assuming the grade earned meets the transfer schools academic requirement).

    • Ann in L.A. says:

      In part, I don’t blame 4-year schools. My experience was that even night classes at the same university (U MN-Mpls) were very different from the day classes, especially in the caliber of students. If the classes are graded on the same scale as the day classes, that is one thing; but if they are graded on a curve with a base of lesser students, then the an A in one is not the equivalent of an A in the other.

    • Crimson Wife says:

      Having a transfer agreement in place does not mean that every major will accept those credits. One of my good friends got her associate’s at community college (her mom was terminally ill and my friend needed to help out with her 3 younger siblings). The CC had a guaranteed transfer agreement, but she only got elective credit for a bunch of her courses. She had to re-take several courses at the transfer school to meet requirements of her major, and that required her to stay a 5th year.

  3. Michael E. Lopez says:

    The credits are not “lost”.

    They are earned for another degree from another institution.

    The second institution has no obligation to stake its reputation and put its seal of approval (its diploma) on a student where the classes the student took are outside of the institution’s supervision and control.

    Absent legislation (for transfer within state school systems) or explicit agreements between institutions, I don’t see a reason for thinking there should be some sort of presumption of transferrability.