Kansas college students will benefit from the new reverse transfer policy

Students at other Kansas Regent institutions can now do what transfer students at Fort Hays State University have always been able to do.

A reverse transfer policy approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in March allows students to complete an associate degree from their previous community college with the courses they take at a university.

Before the reverse transfer policy was approved, FHSU had been "counseling students for years to work with their community college to finish their degree by having credits transfer back," said Dr. Joseph Linn, associate vice president for student affairs and registrar. "We tell students to do it for credentials. We do it to serve the students, not because we have to."

After a student completes the necessary credit hours from one of the Kansas state universities or Washburn University, those hours can transfer back to the community or technical college they last attended. The student either obtains an associate degree or certificate while continuing on to a bachelor's degree.

"Life happens, and students who transfer don't always finish their bachelor's," said Linn.

According to the Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas has more jobs requiring post-secondary education than qualified Kansans to fill them and "over the next 10 years, Kansas will experience an increase of 99,000 jobs requiring postsecondary education."

To keep up with the increase of jobs requiring a higher education, the Department of Commerce established the Keeping Kansas Competitive Plan. The goal is to have an additional 1,500 credentials awarded per year. Citing the state Department of Labor's "Job Vacancy Survey 2010," Commerce said that more than 96,000 Kansans are without jobs while more than 32,00 jobs are open, indicating "a skills shortage and mismatch."

Linn said that having the reverse transfer policy will meet the goals of Keeping Kansas Competitive and help students get the degrees they have already earned.

Statewide reverse transfer policies are now in effect in 20 U.S. states as of June 2014. The other states are: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

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