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Iowa public universities, community colleges work together to help students earn degrees

Mar 22, 2018 | Media Center, Press Releases

Partnership between community colleges, public universities and National Student Clearinghouse to boost college completion rates, support Future Ready Iowa initiative

DES MOINES – Iowa community college students who transfer to one of the state’s three public universities before earning a degree or certificate will find it easier to receive a credential retroactively under a new state partnership between Iowa’s two-year and four-year public colleges and universities and the National Student Clearinghouse.

The partnership, which utilizes the Clearinghouse’s Reverse Transfer service, is expected to boost college completion rates and to generate a significant increase in the number of community college credentials awarded. This work supports the Future Ready Iowa initiative, which calls for 70 percent of Iowa workers to have education or training beyond high school by 2025.

“Helping more Iowans earn postsecondary degrees and credentials is key to getting them the rewarding jobs they deserve and getting employers the skilled workers they need to grow,” Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said. “Participation in Reverse Credit Transfer is good for students, since research shows individuals who earn associate degrees finish four-year degrees at higher rates and earn more money.”

Memoranda of understanding between Iowa’s 15 community colleges, three public universities and the Clearinghouse facilitate the sharing of student course records between the universities and community colleges. To participate, students agree to have their university transcripts sent back to their community colleges, which will determine whether the students’ university courses have met requirements for degrees or other credentials. The state’s three public universities are encouraging students who have transferred in with 30 or more community college credits to participate.

“This is great news for students,” said Rachel Boon, chief academic officer for the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. “It is another example of collaboration in public higher education to help students achieve a degree. Iowa’s public universities already have statewide articulation agreements with our state’s community colleges, and this is a great tool that will help even more Iowa students gain momentum on the path to a bachelor’s degree. We fully support this initiative and are thrilled to be partners in it.”

The Iowa partnership was made possible through the Clearinghouse, a nonprofit provider of educational reporting, data exchange, verification and research services.

“It’s a great leadership testimony that all of Iowa’s four-year and two-year public colleges and universities will be working with us to offer reverse transfer to increase Iowa’s college degree attainment,” said Michelle Blackwell, national manager of reverse transfer initiatives at the Clearinghouse. “Nationwide, there are more than 4 million students with some college and no degree, according to our Research Center. The Clearinghouse’s Reverse Transfer service and Iowa’s colleges and universities will ensure that eligible students earn their associate degree and enhance their employment opportunities.”

For more information, visit Iowa’s Reverse Credit Transfer website.


Staci Hupp
Communications Director
Iowa Department of Education
Office: 515-281-5651
Cell: 515-669-7007