Salem State students who began their college careers at Northern Essex Community College (NECC) or North Shore Community College (NSCC) will soon be able to receive their associate's degrees while still working toward a bachelor's degree through a new reverse transfer program.
The program allows students who transferred to Salem State from NECC or NSCC to apply for an associate's degree from their former institution once they accumulate a total of 62 combined credits. The hope is that the credentials from a community college will make it easier for students to find work while studying toward a bachelor's degree.
"It gives you a credential that might enable you to get a job that you wouldn't necessarily be able to get without your associate's degree," said Karen Cady, Salem State's associate vice president of marketing and communications.
Institutions in Texas, Michigan and elsewhere who have participated in similar reverse transfer programs have seen evidence of both increased retention rates at four-year institutions and higher rates of graduation from community colleges. UMass-Boston began a similar program with Massasoit Community College in 2011.
The University of Texas at El Paso pioneered the reverse transfer program with El Paso Community College.
"More and more institutions across the country are starting to look at this because of the success that the University of Texas has had," said Scott James, Salem State's associate vice president of enrollment management.