AUSTIN, Texas A new agreement between The University of Texas at Austin and Austin Community College will boost the number of college graduates in Central Texas by allowing students to combine credits to earn an associate degree even if they transfer before community college graduation.
"This is win for everyone most importantly, for our students," says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. "This agreement recognizes students' achievements and ensures timely awarding of a valuable credential to students who have earned it."
Research shows students who earn an associate degree are much more likely to persist and complete a four-year degree. Reverse transfer programs such as this also enable students to obtain a college degree if their plans change before graduation from a university.
ACC is the leading source of transfer students to area universities, and it has one of the highest transfer rates among large Texas community colleges. Forty-three percent of ACC's 43,000 credit students plan to transfer to a university.
Through this agreement, students can fulfill the balance of their ACC associate degree requirements at The University of Texas at Austin. Transfer students must meet the same requirements of all ACC graduates and earn at least 25 percent of their credit hours at ACC.
"Reverse transfer is an important step in our continued commitment to improve student success," said Bill Powers, president of The University of Texas at Austin. "Anything we can do to encourage undergraduate success and completion needs to be in the mix. Earning an associate degree will help keep our transfer students on track to complete their next important educational milestone their bachelor's degree."
The University of Texas at Austin will automatically provide transfer-student transcripts to ACC following each grading period. ACC will assess the transcripts and notify students when the requirements for an associate degree are met.
The associate degree is the fastest growing workplace credential. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 62 percent of the nation's jobs now require at least a two-year degree or certificate, a figure that is expected to climb to 75 percent by 2020.
"This partnership is a great example of the collaboration we must have between our colleges and universities to produce more degrees and prepare more Texans for the knowledge economy. Hook 'em Riverbats!" says Dan Branch, chairman of the Texas House Committee on Higher Education.
As part of the agreement, The University of Texas at Austin and ACC will review the records of transfer students from the past decade who elect to participate; ACC expects to award hundreds of associate degrees to deserving alumni.
ACC is exploring reverse transfer agreements with additional universities. For more information about reverse transfer, visit ACC's Transfer Services webpage.