W.Va. Higher Education Policy Commission adopts reverse transfer policy aimed at advancing degree completion

Shepherdstown, W.Va. – The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) today voted unanimously to approve a reverse transfer policy that facilitates degree completion. The procedural rule allows students who have transferred from a community college to a four-year institution, prior to receiving their associate degree, to be awarded an associate degree from the two-year college after earning enough credits while pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

“One of the biggest challenges facing higher education today is ensuring more students are earning their degree credentials,” said Paul Hill, the Commission’s Chancellor. “This policy represents a strong step in our multifaceted approach to improving college completion in West Virginia – and encouraging student success. We hope this is a powerful motivator for our students.”

The percentage of undergraduate transfers from West Virginia community and technical colleges to four-year institutions has increased by nearly 40 percent over the past few years. To make this process more seamless for students, the Commission and West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education (Council) adopted a joint resolution last year that identified a number of needed improvement areas, including reverse transfer.

“Many West Virginia students get their start at a community and technical college,” said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who urged state colleges and universities to improve the transfer process for students during his 2014 State of the State Address. “This is about giving students credit where it’s due – and the degrees they’ve rightfully earned.”

The policy will now be posted with the Secretary of State for a 30-day public comment period. Once implemented, all West Virginia public higher education institutions will participate in the new reverse transfer program, which is valid only for a student’s first associate degree. Institutions will work together to identify and contact eligible students. The Council will act upon the policy during its June meeting.