Stu­dents get boost un­der Po­lis bill

The Denver Post - - ROUNDUP - By Monte Wha­ley

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.

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