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Automating the reverse transfer student data exchange

National Student Clearinghouse data will identify students eligibility for an associate degree
University Business, December 2014

More transfer students will now have the chance to obtain an associate degree—with-out extra administrative burden—thanks to a Lumina Foundation grant that National Student Clearinghouse received to provide an automated solution for exchanging reverse transfer student data.

With this technology (currently in phase-one development in Missouri, Texas and Wisconsin), four-year schools will send academic data files to NSC whenever a student who has provided consent reaches the required credit hours, thus indicating possible eligibility for an associate degree. The Clearinghouse then alerts the correct two-year school that the record is available for download and review.

The second phase (still in development) of the Reverse Transfer project includes a set of data transparency tools, which will enable students to view all records held by the NSC.

David Pelham, NSC’s vice president of higher education development and client relations, says the solution will eliminate barriers to a smooth reverse transfer process. The grant will help replace current enrollment technology (if there is any) with a more unified solution, using technology already in place at 3,600 U.S. institutions for enrollment reporting through NSC.

This new technology will also act as a national solution. Of 2 million students eligible for a reverse transfer degree between 2003 and 2013, 40 percent of these enrollments occurred in more than one state. The new system will include this information, serving an often-overlooked transfer population.

Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, adds that the project will give community colleges more specific data about former students and will be able to track whether they enter the workforce, go on for more schooling or choose other paths.

Bumphus sees the reach of the project extending past the college and the student, as well. Now, he says, parents “will have a better idea of what community colleges are doing, and the success rate in which they are transferring students to four-year institutions.”

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