Students will soon find it easier to transfer

Jessica White

Students will soon be able to shop at a single website for general education courses that will be transferable to nearly any public university in the state.

The website is part of the Ohio Board of Regents’ plan to create a separate division to manage those transfers.

Rob Evans, spokesman for the board, said an easy transfer system plays a big part in enrollment, retention and graduation rates.

“It makes it easier for you to start at an institution close to your home, like a community college, and then move on to a university or regional campus to get a bachelor’s degree,” he said. “Or if your educational pathway has to change suddenly, say for family reasons, then you don’t have to start from scratch.”

Evans said inability to transfer credits is often a reason why some students never return to school.

“Students want a guarantee that when they take a course at a public college or university, it will count no matter where their educational path leads,” said Eric Fingerhut, chancellor for the Ohio Board of Regents, in a prepared statement.

And that’s what the board is trying to accomplish.

Evans said the board started lining up various transfer agreements between institutions in 2005, but Fingerhut wants to create a separate division to manage the network so it would be unaffected by the faltering state budget.

“It would work something like OhioLINK, and perhaps be funded by dues from institutions or nonprofit options,” Evans said. “This is an investment that’s cheaper to maintain than rebuild every once in a while, and we can’t let it get outdated just because of changing state funding.”

He said the details are still in the works because the board needs to discuss the plan with Ohio’s colleges and universities, as well as the new Kasich administration.

But Evans said the topic of transfers is a critical part of any statewide strategy for higher education.

“This is about reaching Ohio’s broader higher education goals,” he said. “It’s about getting people enrolled and graduated to go out, attract companies and get good jobs for themselves.”

President Lester Lefton said he fully supports a greater ease in transfer.

“Currently, hundreds of students transfer to Kent State through carefully defined transfer policy and carefully thought-out articulation agreements with community colleges,” he said. “The state of Ohio has developed a state-of-the-art approach to transfer courses from university to university, and Kent State looks forward to this continuing development.”

Contact Jessica White at [email protected].