New ‘Interstate Passport’ Aims to Ease College Transfer Process

AN EU FOR COLLEGE CREDIT? Colleges and universities nationwide can now take advantage of a tool that makes it easier for students to transfer across state lines without losing credits. For the past five years, academic leaders working with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) have been working on an “Interstate Passport.” The goal of the project? Improve graduation rates by “eliminating transfer students’ unnecessary repetition of learning previously achieved.” Transfer students make up over a third of U.S. college students, and 24 percent of them transfer across state lines.

WICHE has been developing and piloting the Passport Initiative Framework with two- and four-year institutions from 16 states; now the group has opened up applications to nonprofit colleges nationwide, according to Education Dive. Colleges interested in using the tool must create a “Passport Block,” which is a set of courses or other learning experiences that satisfy learning requirements in nine areas, including natural sciences and critical thinking.

Participating schools must also commit to data-sharing: the National Student Clearinghouse will collect academic progress data for transfer students with and without the passport and will report to institutions the data of their former students.

Curious to learn more? WICHE is hosting webinars to dive into the framework. Institutions can also apply directly to be a part of the network.

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