A look at a unique law that makes transfer credits count

Gov. Jared Polis, along with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, also recently announced a new initiative to get young Coloradoans to transition into the postsecondary track. 

In a first for higher ed, Colorado lawmakers are taking a stab at cleaning up credit transfer loss in a new law signed by the governor this past weekend.

The Institution of Higher Education Transparency Requirements, signed this weekend by Gov. Jared Polis, guarantees a “seamless transfer of course credit” by requiring all four-year institutions to compile a public report on all the credits they accept and reject, a first among all U.S. states. Furthermore, the act requires institutions rejecting a student’s credits to provide reasoning “in a timely response.” Students are afforded the right to appeal such a decision.

Colorado students also have the right to know what work-related and prior learning experiences can be awarded as credit, the bill declares.

“This law will make it easier for students pursuing higher education in Colorado to understand the cost of their degree or certificate,” Democratic Rep. Julie McCluskie, state house speaker and bill sponsor, said in a press release. “It will also ensure that students transferring from a community college to a four-year institution receive credits they deserve for the classes they’ve successfully completed.”

More from UB: Financial aid: How big is the support in your state?

Universities often accept up to 60 credits from transfer students. However, there’s much ambiguity around whether four-year institutions will count those credits toward a student’s major or reassign them as elective credits, forcing students to “re-do” classes they’ve taken. This credit loss can force students to make up a semester’s worth of classes, The Hechinger Report shows. Studies indicate the longer students take to finish school, the lower the chance they have of graduating.

Lawmakers backing the bill believe it will help reduce student costs. One recent report from the Center for Higher Education Policy and Practice found four-year institutions that embrace seamless credit transfers reduce students’ expenses. This held especially true for underrepresented students.

Getting students into the postsecondary track

Polis, along with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, also recently announced a new initiative to get more young Coloradoans to transition into the postsecondary track.

Opportunity Next Colorado will grant more than 14,000 graduating seniors a one-time $1,500 scholarship. The program’s experts will help students complete the FAFSA and offer guidance on high-demand, high-paying careers.

“I am proud to remove barriers to education and post-secondary training, strengthening our workforce and economy,” said Polis. “These scholarships will help the class of 2024 further their education, gain more experience, and get good-paying jobs.”

Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel is a UB staff writer and first-generation journalism graduate from the University of Florida. His beats have ranged from Gainesville's city development, music scene and regional little league sports divisions. He has triple citizenship from the U.S., Ecuador and Brazil.

Most Popular