The Newnan Academic Advising Center sent out an e-mail Wednesday informing LSA students of a new transfer credit policy that allows all students, regardless of class standing, to transfer credits earned at a community college starting this Spring Term. This policy eliminates a previous rule that only permitted students with fewer than 60 credits to transfer community college credit. In light of this new policy, students with more than 60 credits, who are of junior or senior standing, can now transfer credits from a community college. The change is a positive move because it helps lower economic barriers to higher education and allows for greater schedule flexibility without diminishing the quality of a degree earned at the University.

The previous policy was initially implemented with the logic that upperclassmen shouldn’t be able to receive credit from community colleges because they teach first- and second-year courses. However, Tim Dodd, director of the Newnan Academic Advising Center, contended that juniors and seniors aren’t prevented from taking and receiving credit for 100- and 200-level courses here at the University — so allowing more transfer credit flexibility was essentially harmless.

This new policy helps level the playing field for students of upper-level standing that need to take courses off campus but can’t afford to pay for the more expensive credit costs of a four-year university. This spring, in-state credits for part-time students cost $690 for the first credit and $510 for every additional credit while out-of-state credits cost $1,825 for the first credit and $1,645 for every additional credit at the University according to the Office of the Registrar. The typical community college credit is much cheaper. For example, in-district students at Oakland Community College pay $76.40 per credit and resident students at Schoolcraft College pay $90 per credit. Furthermore, it allows students to stay at home over the summer and take classes, rather than paying for housing in Ann Arbor.

According to a U.S. Department of Education profile of 2007-08 first-time bachelor’s degree recipients, which included full-time as well as part-time students, it took an average of six years and four months to obtain a bachelor’s degree. For any number of reasons, it can be hard for students to graduate in four years. This can lead to an increase in education costs and delays in career plans. Many students have to work their way through school and others are working toward dual degrees. Managing their time and credits can be hard without taking classes over the summer. The greater flexibility this policy provides can help students earn their degree in a more timely manner and start paying off their student loans.

Transferred community college credits are still subject to approval by the University, so the quality of a University degree will not decline as a result of this policy; the only thing that really changes is how long a student can take advantage of community college classes. Allowing upperclassmen to transfer community college credits doesn’t change what counts toward a University degree; 60 of the 120 credits needed to graduate still can’t be transferred from other institutions, and the University can still deem credits unfit for transfer.

This policy comes with essentially no costs and has the benefits of saving students money and helping them graduate in four years. It is now easier and more cost-efficient for students to fulfill requirements and graduate in a timely manner.

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