Advisor/Registrar FAQ

Credit Hours | Degrees |Statute | DataProcess | Participation

Credit Hours

Q: If a student has attended two community colleges and has completed 15 degree-applicable credit hours at each, which will be the granting institution?
A: The community college that the student has most recently attended will confer this degree.

Q: Do students need to complete 15 degree-applicable credit hours in total (at any number of community colleges) or is it 15 hours at one community college?
A: They must complete 15 degree-applicable credit hours at one community college. However, any degree-applicable credit hours earned at another community college in addition to the fifteen may count toward their reverse transfer degree.

Q: How many credit hours must a student complete at the four-year institution?
A: The student must have 70 credits in total (two- year credits + four- year credits) in order to be considered for Reverse Transfer. Additionally, a student must gain residency at the four-year institution. For example, gaining residency at Metro generally requires 30 credits but varies by degree and institution, and is guided by the institution’s accrediting organization.

Q: Do concurrent enrollment/International Baccalaureate/Advanced Placement courses count toward the 70 total credit hours?
A: If these courses appear on the transcript (and are college-level, non-remedial courses), then yes. In addition, students claiming these courses must be classified as degree-seeking students.

Q: Would the credit hours counted for the 15 credit hours need to be those accepted for transfer?
A: Yes. These cannot be remedial or non-degree qualifying electives. These must be degree-applicable credits.


Q: What will the degree be? How will this be determined?
A: Degrees conferred will be Associate of Arts, Associate of Science or Associate of General Studies, to be determined via degree audit at the degree-granting community college. CCCS’s process is to first review eligibility for the AA as it is the most commonly pursued transfer degree, then AS, and finally AGS. However, the order of awarding is up to the community colleges and is not mandated in legislation or state policy (i.e. Aims Community College and Colorado Mountain College can choose to review for an AS first, then AA). If the criteria for these degrees are not met, then the student will be notified about which courses they must complete to receive their Associate’s degree.

Q: Can students receive a second Associate’s degree through Reverse Transfer? For example, if a student transfers to Colorado State University-Pueblo from Pueblo Community College and was awarded an AGS Reverse Transfer but then later goes on to complete requirements for the AS can they receive it through Reverse Transfer?  
A: No. Students will be awarded only one degree via the Reverse Transfer process. If a student does not want the lower-level degree and wants to wait for a higher-level degree, the student must turn down the lower-level degree.

Q: If a student receives an Associate’s degree through Degree Within Reach, can the student then come back to the four-year institution and ask for their core to be cleared (after having started at the four-year)?
A: The decision will be left to the discretion of the four-year institution. There is no requirement that the core be cleared. The intention of Reverse Transfer is not to alter the student’s progress through their Bachelor’s degree, but rather to recognize the work the student has already completed toward their Associate’s degree. However, should an institution want to change the class standing of these students, it is free to do so.

Q: Will four-year institutions need to change the class standing of students receiving a degree through Degree Within Reach?
A: Again, this decision is left to the discretion of the four-year institution. There is no expectation that the institution will change the class standing of these students unless it is appropriate and the student has the requisite qualifications. However, should an institution want to change the class standing of these students it is free to do so.

Q: Will there be an expectation that the four-year institution will receive data regarding which students have received degrees through Degree Within Reach?
A: Students awarded a degree through Reverse Transfer will be tracked by the community colleges, which will be submitted to the Department of Higher Education via SURDS. Data regarding how many students have been awarded Reverse Transfer degrees by community college and four-year institution will be pulled by the data submitted. Community colleges may also report their data before SURDS data is available.

Q: Will Degrees with Designation be awarded through Degree Within Reach?
A: No. There will be no awarding of Degrees with Designation (DWD’s) through Degree Within Reach. We will only be awarding Associate of Science, Associate of Arts, or Associate of General Studies (AS, AA, or AGS).

Q: What will students receive upon completion of the reverse transfer process? Will their degree come in the mail? Will they be allowed to participate in commencement exercises?
A: This will be left up to the discretion of the degree-granting institution. At a minimum, the student will receive via email official confirmation that the degree has been granted.

Q: What happens with Colorado Mesa University and Adams State University, which grant both two-year and four-year degrees?
A: Students who attend those institutions will also be eligible for a Reverse Transfer degree, but those institutions can transfer data from the two-year to the four-year programs through their own internal process. The Department of Higher Education will work with those institutions to determine how data will be reported, and assist with implementation if necessary.


Q: Which statute governs reverse transfer?
A. Reverse transfer is legislated by Senate Bill 12-045.


Q: When did course-level collection begin?
A: Institutions began submitting course-level data for the year to CDHE through SURDS in Summer 2012.

Q: How far back are we searching for enrollment in an Associate’s degree program when we’re pulling the data to consider students for Reverse Transfer?
A: As course-level data began to be collected in Summer 2012, courses taken by students before that time will not be able to be included for consideration in CDHE’s process. There are no plans in doing an historical upload of course-level information at this time. However, as time goes on, the body of course-level data will increase significantly and the number of students eligible for Reverse Transfer degrees will hopefully increase.

Q: Given that there will not be historical data, will there be a manual process to allow students who meet the threshold, but who will not show up in the data, to receive an RT degree?
A: The Colorado Community College System, Aims Community College, and Colorado Mountain College can elect to review for and award Reverse Transfer degrees for students who meet the eligibility requirements via a manual process should they wish – but choosing to do so is at their discretion. Any Reverse Transfer degrees awarded through the manual process should be reported the same as those awarded through the CDHE process.

Process and Communication

Q: What are the responsibilities of the four-year institutions in the Reverse Transfer process?
A: Primarily, the four-year institutions will be responsible for sending the “opt-in” emails to students enrolled (or enrolled within the last two years) at their institution. CDHE will supply the four-year institutions with the list of students eligible for Reverse Transfer on a yearly basis (the next list will be delivered in March 2015, but will typically be in late September/early October), as well as the email templates. Three emails in total should be sent to eligible students: 1) the initial email; 2) the first reminder email, and; 3) the final reminder email. Community colleges may also request that four-years send their current electronic catalog in excel format to assist with the articulation process. Four-years will be expected to assist in providing advising to these students as necessary. Additionally, to aid in the success of Degree Within Reach, four-year institutions are asked to promote and educate their students regarding Reverse Transfer at their institution.

Q: If students have questions about earning a degree through Reverse Transfer, to whom should they be referred?
A: Students should refer to the list of contacts included on the Degree Within Reach site:


Q: Which institutions participate in Degree Within Reach?
A:  As of March 2015, all public four-year institutions in Colorado, Regis University, all 13 CCCS colleges, Aims Community College and Colorado Mountain College participate in Degree Within Reach. The list of participating institutions can be found here as well:

Q: Which other states are participating in the Credit When It’s Due (CWID) reverse transfer grant? How can I learn more about them?
A: There are 15 states including Colorado: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas. For more information, please see the CWID website:

Q: Who serves on the Reverse Transfer Task Force and what is its purpose?
A: The Colorado Reverse Transfer Task Force is comprised of members from all participating institutions, the Colorado Community College System Office and the Department of Higher Education. This group guides the implementation of reverse transfer in Colorado, develops policies for the implementation and is developing a plan for sustainability.

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