Reverse transfers offer a path to a degree for students leaving four-year programs

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For students transferring from community colleges to four-year schools, the goal is usually achieving a bachelor’s degree. But sometimes students who make that move find obstacles in their path on the way to that degree that make completing four years not possible. Whether it be financial issues, family concerns, health or any other number of concerns that forces their education to take a backseat, many students transferring from a community college to a four-year program find themselves saddled with all the cost of financial aid, but none of the benefits of a degree.

In an increasing number of states, including Iowa, reverse transfers offer a way for those students to use their units from both community college and classes taken at their transfer school toward earning an associate’s degree at a participating community college. Currently, all three Iowa regent universities offer some form of opportunity for students to reverse transfer credits to one of 15 community colleges.

Transfer in Iowa is a website created by the Iowa Board of Regents to help students see what options are available for both transfers to a regent university or reverse transfers to community colleges. The site provides guidance on how to inquire with a student’s university’s financial aid office to begin a reverse transfer and suggests to confirm with the community college which units will count toward transfer, as each college will individually evaluate course work to determine which units will be credited.

It may require a little bit of legwork, but reverse transfers offer students a way to still achieve their associate’s degree, a valuable tool in the growing job market, even if they are unable to complete their bachelor’s degree.


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