Postsecondary students are highly mobile; About two-thirds attend more than one postsecondary institution, and one-quarter attend more than two institutions. Thus, student transfer between colleges must be a smooth process if students are to succeed. Unfortunately, many barriers arise for students throughout the transfer process, impeding their ability to attain a degree. A new issue brief suggests two tools to aid in this process: articulation agreements and prior learning assessments.
An articulation agreement, typically agreed upon by at least two institutions, is a policy that clearly specifies how and which credits will be accepted by another college toward a degree program. All but six states support statewide articulation agreements connecting public postsecondary institutions across the state. Though articulation agreements are becoming more common, the issue brief points out that they still do not exist among all institutions and that many of students’ credits are still lost in the transfer process.
The brief also recommends using prior learning assessments to allow more experienced students to earn credit for out-of-classroom college level experience.
Many institutions are making strides in implementing articulation agreements and prior learning assessments, but more widespread use and improvement of the tools is needed to remove barriers for transferring students.