The Compact’s Work on Reverse Transfers Gets Featured in New Guidebook

The L.A. Compact’s work in the San Fernando Valley targeting students with “some college but no degree” was recently featured in a Reverse Transfer Guidebook, produced by the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Students across the country are unknowingly leaving earned postsecondary credentials behind as they accumulate credits at community colleges and transfer to four-year institutions without collecting the associate degrees they’ve earned.

Over the past four years, L.A. Compact partners California State University, Northridge (CSUN), LA Pierce College, LA Mission College, and LA Valley College have worked to develop and implement a reverse transfer program with UNITE-LA’s support, called CSUN Connections. Reverse transfer, or reverse credit transfer, is the act of retroactively awarding an associate degree to a student after they have transferred to a four-year institution. CSUN Connections took this model and applied it to students who transferred to CSUN from one of the three participatory community colleges and subsequently left CSUN after completing courses, but not earning a degree. A second, unique pathway developed by the CSUN Connections team was created for first- or second-year CSUN students who have been academically disqualified from CSUN. The pathway allows disqualified students to transfer to a partner community college, then earn an associate degree or Associate Degree for Transfer and then transfer back to CSUN as an upper division student.

As a designated Lumina Talent Hub, known as the Los Angeles Talent Hub, CSUN Connections is a part of a national network of strategic initiatives designed to advance attainment in various localities. The Los Angeles Talent Hub is one of two reverse transfer initiatives, sharing that distinction with Richmond Virginia. Recently, UNITE-LA’s Adam Gottlieb, Associate Director of Postsecondary Initiatives and project lead on CSUN Connections, and Richmond’s Dr. Stephanie Odera, were featured in a Reverse Transfer Guidebook, produced by the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

The Guidebook, titled “Innovative Strategies to Close Postsecondary Attainment Gaps: Reclaiming Earned Degrees Through Reverse Transfer,” offers a  perspective into the conditions that led to reverse transfer in Los Angeles, how the L.A. Compact was positioned to provide support for the initiatives, and the design and early successes of this regional pilot. This guidebook, which has been distributed across the country to higher education practitioners, offers insights on how to take this concept and apply it to their own student support practices. The guidebook includes various insights, such as the Compact’s commitment to student success (despite which institution receives credit), the Compact’s ability to spur and cultivate intersegmental partnership without formally sanctioned opportunities, and the plans for scaling to other Compact partner institutions.

For more information on CSUN Connections or any enterprise of the L.A. Compact’s Institutions of Higher Education Collaborative, please reach out to Adam Gottlieb, Associate Director of Postsecondary Initiatives, at [email protected]

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