Students

Eligibility

If you are eligible for reverse transfer, you will be contacted directly by your four-year institution with instructions on how to participate.

You may be eligible for reverse transfer if:

  • You have completed 15 credit hours at a community college in Colorado;
  • You have a minimum of 70 credit hours, including coursework at one of the participating four-year institutions (see list below);
  • You transferred to that four-year institution since Summer 2012;
  • Your completed credit hours meet the requirements for an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or Associate of General Studies, to be determined via a degree audit;
  • You have not requested that your data be withheld at either institution;
  • You have not already received an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

If you are currently not enrolled at your participating four-year institution but have been within the last two years, you may still be eligible.

Participating institutions of higher education include:

  • Adams State University
  • Aims Community College
  • Colorado Community College System (All 13 Colleges)
  • Colorado Mesa University
  • Colorado Mountain College
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Colorado State University
  • Colorado State University – Global Campus
  • Colorado State University – Pueblo
  • Fort Lewis College
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Regis University
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Colorado Colorado Springs
  • University of Colorado Denver
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • Western State Colorado University

Learn more about how to participate in the program.

How it works

If you are eligible for Degree Within Reach, you will receive an email from the four-year institution you currently attend (or most recently attended). If you would like to participate, you will need to opt in using the consent tool included in that email. If you attended any other higher education institution, be sure to send your official transcripts to your community college so they can be considered toward your associate degree. Once your credits have been reviewed, you will be notified if you have received a degree, or if you have credits remaining.

For answers to commonly asked questions, please see the Frequently Asked Questions section below.

If you have additional questions, contact the reverse transfer contact at your four-year institution, community college, or the Colorado Department of Higher Education. See our list of contacts.

Student Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why should I get my associate’s degree via Degree Within Reach if I’m working toward my bachelor’s degree?

A. An associate’s degree offers students currently pursuing their bachelor’s degree two unique opportunities. First, it allows students to round out their academic qualifications. For instance, if you are pursuing an accounting bachelor’s degree, you can bolster your credentials with an Associate of Arts degree. Second, an associate’s degree can make students more competitive for employment and earn more while working on their bachelor’s degree.

Q. How do I know if I am eligible for reverse transfer?

A.  You will be contacted via email if you are eligible for Degree Within Reach by your participating Colorado four-year institution.

Eligibility, as a current or former transfer student, includes the following criteria:

  • You have completed 15 credit hours at a community college in Colorado;
  • You have completed a total of 70 credit hours or more, including coursework at both your community college(s) and four-year institution(s);
  • You transferred to the participating four-year institution since Summer 2012;
  • Your completed credit hours meet the requirements for an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or Associate of General Studies, to be determined by the community college degree audit;
  • You have not requested that your data be withheld at either institution; and
  • You have not already received an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Q. Why are students who transferred prior to Summer 2012 ineligible for this program?

A. Degree Within Reach is a semi-automated process that relies upon the transfer of course-level data from the four-year to the community college through the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE). Course work completed by students was not collected by CDHE prior to summer 2012 and thus the data is not available for degree consideration.

Q: How do I enroll in reverse transfer?

A: You do not enroll. You will be contacted via email by your participating four-year Colorado institution if you are eligible and then will be prompted to opt in or out of the program.

Q. What am I agreeing to when I consent to have my course information transferred?

A: By completing the information requested at the consent site (link to site is provided in your notification email) you are consenting to allow the Colorado Department of Higher Education to securely transfer the necessary enrollment and course-level data to the Colorado Community College System or participating community college in order for them to perform a degree audit.  You are also agreeing to have the updated contact information you provide securely shared with your degree-granting community college so they are able to contact you regarding Degree Within Reach.

Q. Once I’ve consented to have my course information transferred, when will I know if I’ve received a degree?

A: Once you’ve completed the consent form, your former community college will perform a degree audit. Performing a degree audit can take time – it may be several months before you are awarded a degree or informed of additional credits you need for an associate’s degree.

Q: If I attended another institution, can that work be considered as well in my degree audit?

A: If you were contacted by your four-year institution as being eligible, yes, work at other institutions you attended can be considered in your degree audit. Please be sure to submit official transcripts from any additional institutions you attended to your community college and they will review your course work to determine what can apply toward your associate degree.

Q: What if I only have a few credit hours left to qualify for my associate’s degree through Degree Within Reach?

A: Once the degree audit is complete, you will be informed whether you are eligible for a degree, or notified of  any remaining courses you must complete.  This notification will also include information about next steps to complete your associate’s degree.

Q. Will this cost me anything?

A: No direct costs are associated with Degree Within Reach. This is a grant-funded initiative and your participation costs you nothing. The only possible cost is if you owe money to your four-year institution. Your degree will not be conferred until the debt is paid. In addition, some institutions may charge small fees for you to participate in graduation ceremonies or related activities (if you are eligible and choose to participate in the ceremony). Those colleges will provide graduation information and procedures when notifying students that they have received a degree. Finally, if you attended any other institution not participating in Degree Within Reach, you may need to pay to have official transcripts mailed to your community college to be considered toward your degree.

Q. What if I have outstanding fees at my current or previous college?
A. We encourage you to resolve outstanding fees at your current or previous college to ensure that you can be considered for an associate’s degree.

Q: What if I do not want my associate’s degree?

A: If you are eligible for Degree Within Reach and do not want an associate’s degree, you can opt out using the consent website. No degrees will be conferred without permission from the individual student via the consent website.

Q: If I don’t qualify for a degree now, what happens?

A: If you meet the eligibility requirements but are a few credits short of an associate’s degree, you will be sent an email from the community college that will provide information on what is still required for the degree. If you are notified that you are short credits, we recommend you speak with a college academic advisor for advice on how to proceed.

Q: Do my 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: Do my 15 credit hours from my community college need to be the same credit hours accepted for transfer?

A: Typically yes. These cannot be remedial or non-degree qualifying electives. These must be degree- applicable credits

Q: What will my degree be in? How will this be determined?

A: If you meet the eligibility requirements but are a few credits short of an associate’s degree, you will be sent a notification email that will provide information on what is still required for the degree. We recommend you speak with a college academic advisor for advice on how to proceed..

Q: How many credit hours do I need to complete at my four-year institution before I’m eligible for reverse transfer?

A: There is no minimum number of credits a student must acquire at the four-year institution. You must have a total of 70 credits (your combined two-year credits and four- year credits) in order to be considered for Degree Within Reach.

Q: If I have attended two community colleges, do credits from both apply to reverse transfer?

A: Yes but only provided that you completed at least 15 credit hours at one community college to meet their graduation residency requirements. If you have completed 15 credit hours at one community college, you may apply the credits from the other community college toward the total number of credit hours needed to earn a degree through Degree Within Reach.

Q: If I have attended two community colleges and have completed exactly 15 degree-applicable credit hours at each, which will be the granting institution?

A: The community college that you have most recently attended will confer this degree.

Q: If I have attended two or more community colleges and have completed more than 15 degree-applicable credit hours at each, which will be the granting institution?

A: The community college where you completed the highest number of degree-applicable credit hours will confer this degree.

Q: Can I receive two associate’s degrees through reverse transfer?

A: No. You will be awarded only one degree via Degree Within Reach. If you do not want the lower-level degree (for example, the Associate in General Studies), and want to wait to see if you qualify for a higher-level degree (either the Associate of Arts or the Associate of Sciences), you must turn down the lower-level degree.

Q. If I think I am eligible for an associate’s degree from a participating institution but I have not been contacted about this initiative, what can I do to be considered?

A: If you believe you meet all the criteria for Degree Within Reach but have not been contacted, contact your former community college and ask if you can be considered for a Degree Within Reach degree if you have your official transcripts from all colleges attended sent to them.

Q. Do I need to re-enroll in my previous college?

A. No. This initiative is not asking students to re-enroll or take more courses at their previous institution. The intention is for you to use what you have already completed toward the degree.

Q. Will this affect my financial aid or scholarships?

A. Getting an associate’s degree for course work you have already completed will not impact your federal, state or institutional financial aid. If you are receiving a scholarship from a private organization (e.g. business organization or civic association), you should check their scholarship regulations to make sure that receiving an associate’s degree does not make you ineligible for the scholarship.

Q. Can I attend the graduation ceremony?

A. Eligibility to participate in graduation ceremonies will be determined by the degree-granting community college. The timing of your review and award may determine how soon you participate in graduation ceremonies. Each participating college has its deadlines for participation in commencement ceremonies. In addition, some colleges may charge a fee to participate in graduation ceremonies. Contact your degree-granting community college for more information.

Q.  If I’m not currently enrolled at a Colorado four-year institution but was recently, can I still be eligible?

A.  If you are not currently enrolled at one of the participating four-year institutions, but you have been within the last two years, you may still be eligible. If you are eligible, your four-year institution will send you an email to opt in for consideration.

Q.  When do the four-year institutions send emails to students notifying them of their eligibility?

A.  The next notification emails sent to eligible students will be sent sometime in April 2015. From that point forward, notification emails will be sent on a yearly basis each October.

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