This year, Degree Within Reach is expanding to several other institutions, including Colorado State University, CSU Global Campus, Regis University and Western State Colorado University, according to Sierra E. Fleenor, research analyst with the Department of Higher Education who is organizing reverse transfer work.
Work is well underway on a new stop-out subcommittee and a juiced up communications subcommittee. The data subcommittee has its work cut out as well to ensure a smooth review and transfer of student data.
Fleenor said eligible students can expect to begin earning reverse transfer degrees under the first year of the Degree Within Reach program by the end of the year, when a plan for how frequently degrees will be awarded will be in place. Meantime, a website is up and running. A video targeting students is also in the works, as is a Facebook page for the program and a media rollout.
So far, data has been pulled for 318 potentially eligible students from the first year of the program. Their transcripts will be audited to determine whether the students have enough credits to earn an associate’s degree. The trickiest part of the reverse transfer process thus far has been determining course equivalencies, since the work had to be done manually at the community college level. Much of this work is a one-time heavy lift.
The second batch of degrees to students attending four-year schools in the second year of the Degree Within Reach program will be conferred as early as May, according to Fleenor.
There are two primary goals of reverse transfer: to meet statewide college completion goals and to recognize the work a student has done at the community college level. The program is primarily funded by Lumina Foundation’s “Credit When It’s Due” grant, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Helios Education Foundation, Kresge Foundation, and USA Funds.