UT Austin Leads National Effort to Help Transfer Students Earn Associate Degrees

AUSTIN, Texas — Almost 270,000 Texans could be eligible to receive associate degrees for coursework they have completed through Reverse Transfer, the first national service to retroactively award the degrees to students after they transfer to a four-year university.

This collaborative initiative is led by The University of Texas at Austin with other top universities and the National Student Clearinghouse™. Research shows that students who have received an associate degree are more likely to complete their undergraduate education. Earning a degree also improves employment opportunities for those who attended a four-year university but did not finish.

Reverse transfer of credits occurs when a four-year institution transfers student credits back to any two-year institution from which a student has transferred. It does not matter whether the student transferred from another associate degree granting institution or four-year university, attended public or private institutions, or transferred across state lines.

“Most of our transfer students come from Austin Community College, and it's important we make sure they receive a degree for the work they have earned. We know students who are awarded their associate degrees are more likely to earn an undergraduate degree and have greater earning power when they graduate. This is going to help students here on our campus today and across Texas,” said Shelby Stanfield, vice provost and registrar at UT Austin.

Reverse Transfer in Texas was made possible through legislation passed this year by the Texas Legislature, authorizing Texas institutions to share student information with the National Student Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse automates this data exchange between four-year universities and community colleges across the country at no cost to the states.

“I am delighted that my legislation will help Texas universities and community colleges reduce costs and promote degree completion by allowing them to participate in the National Student Clearinghouse,” said state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, who authored the bill. “What’s more, leveraging this technologically enhanced platform will facilitate the awarding of associate degrees to more eligible students, thereby helping them achieve their higher education goals.”

UT Austin, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Missouri helped develop, pilot and raise funding for the new service offered by the National Student Clearinghouse. The service is funded by grants, as well as financial contributions from several major universities.

Colleges are also able to reach out to students who are a few credits short of receiving their associate degrees and encourage them to complete their coursework.

Additional information on the Reverse Transfer is available at reversetransfer.org.

For more information, contact: Joey Williams, Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, 512-232-3716.