Sen. Isakson Reintroduces Bipartisan Legislation to Help More Students Earn Degrees

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Friday, May 17th, 2019

As work in the Senate continues on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act for students, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., reintroduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to help more students earn degrees through the “reverse transfer” of college credits.
Specifically, Isakson’s legislation would make it easier for two- and four-year higher education institutions to share information that would allow students who have not completed a four-year degree obtain an associate’s degree if they have already earned enough credits to be awarded that degree. Currently, students must proactively give permission for their institutions to determine whether they have earned enough credits to be awarded a degree or certificate, a bureaucratic step proven to diminish credential attainment rates.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to improve higher education, and this commonsense measure will make it easier for students to earn the recognition they deserve for the work they have done,” said Isakson. “I’m glad to reintroduce this legislation to help more Americans succeed.”
Isakson reintroduced the Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act of 2019 with U.S. Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., and companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House. This bill would facilitate the “reverse” transfer of college credits from four-year institutions to community colleges.
According to 2017 data from the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, more than 30 percent of students who transfer from a community college to a four-year institution drop out before completing a bachelor’s degree. Students with an associate’s degree on average earn $200,000 more in their lifetimes than individuals who have some college credits but never graduated and $400,000 more in a lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma.
The University System of Georgia has announced support for the legislation, as have other higher education systems and state and regional associations in the Southeast and across the country, including the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, American Association of Community Colleges, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Institute for Higher Education Policy, and Student Veterans of America.