New Hunt Institute Policy Brief Highlights Benefits of Reverse Transfer Strategy

January 21, 2020

Durham, N.C.– There are approximately 36 million adults in the United States who have “some college, no degree” – a population who have earned some college credit, but have not received any certificate or degree and are no longer enrolled at an institution of higher education (IHE). Of this number, approximately 10 percent (3.6 million) have accumulated at least two years’ worth of postsecondary credits – an amount that could potentially make them eligible to receive a certificate or associate degree.    

As states continue to focus on increasing postsecondary attainment rates, policymakers can look to an innovative policy strategy – reverse transfer – to better support those adults and help them receive the certificates or degrees they may have already earned.

The second installment of The Hunt Institute’s policy brief series, “Attainment for All: Postsecondary Pathways,” highlights the benefits and potential barriers to success in reverse transfer, which ensures students who have earned credit across multiple IHEs receive the certificates or degrees that they have earned or helps students determine the remaining steps necessary for completion.

“As state leaders focus on strategies to close their attainment gaps, they should consider the reverse transfer model as a way to re-engage this important group of adult learners,” said The Hunt Institute’s President & CEO Dr. Javaid Siddiqi. “This is an impactful policy that can boost postsecondary completion rates and help students realize their full potential.”  

In addition to highlighting the programs of Mississippi and Indiana, which have worked creatively to overcome common barriers often associated with reverse transfer, the brief also lifts up the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) initiative, “Degrees When Due.” This program builds on the evidence-based research from two previous programs, Project Win-Win (adult reengagement) and Credit When It’s Due (reverse transfer), which led to updated policies at hundreds of IHEs resulting in more than 20,000 new associate degrees.

The “Attainment for All” series highlights scalable state-level strategies to boost postsecondary attainment rates among specific student subpopulations including recent high school graduates, first-generation students and adult learners. The first policy brief, released in September 2019, focused on early college high school modelwith the final brief, focusing on data-driven student interventions,set to be released in late spring.


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