Students get boost under Polis bill
Some students who complete the course work required for an associate degree but who leave school before earning a bachelor’s degree could earn the twoyear diploma, under a bill co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-colorado.
The bill — the Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act of 2017 — is aimed at the large number of students who transfer from community college to four-year institutions but drop out before earning a bachelor’s degree. It would allow those students, through a “reverse transfer” process, to apply applicable credits toward an associate degree.
The measure would streamline credit sharing between campuses and also alert students when they’ve met the requirements for an associate degree. Two Republicans, Reps. Luke Messer of Indiana and Drew Ferguson of Georgia, are cosponsoring the bill.
The proposal has received backing from several education leaders, who say it will benefit students who leave a community college for a four-year school but drop out without a degree of any kind, Polis said.
“All levels of skills are needed in our modern, global economy,” Polis said Friday. “Like all college degrees, a short-term certificate or an associate degree can be the ticket to a betterpaying job.”
“It’s only fair that students are awarded an associate degree if they already completed the course work for it,” Polis added.
More than 30 percent of students who transfer from a community college to a fouryear institution in the U.S. drop out before completing a bachelor’s degree, Polis said, and often they’ve met the course requirements for an associate degree.
Between 2003 and 2013, nearly 2 million transfer students nationwide who were eligible for an associate degree were not awarded diplomas. On average, someone with an associate degree will earn about $400,000 more in their lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma, Polis said.
The proposed legislation would amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which currently regulates the sharing of student credit information between higher education institutions, to make the process more open and efficient, Polis said.