Colleges and universities are feeling the heat when it comes to increasing higher education accessibility to Americans.
In particular, the process of transferring between institutions, most notably across state lines, has come under a lot of flak. Critics note that overwhelmed students are often required to re-retake courses and as a result, pay additional fees to earn their degrees.
In an effort to relieve this pressure, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) launched the Interstate Passport Initiative this week.
The initiative defines a set of learning outcomes agreed upon by 16 participating colleges and universities and is designed to create a seamless transfer policy between institutions; even those across state lines.
Students enrolled in general education or liberal arts programs will now have the option to transfer between participating institutions without having to worry about credits earned or courses taken. Instead, institutions are in control of their own specified outcomes or competency requirements to determine acceptance or placement of a transferring student.
“Some institutions may require two or more courses to meet a single outcome while another institution may only require one course,” according to WICHE’s description of the Interstate Passport Initiative. But, WICHE’s website also explains that each participating institution will be fully aware of each school’s transfer student requirements.
The Interstate Passport Initiative is aiming to simplify the transfer process, especially between states.
“In the new normal of American higher education, students are increasingly mobile, and efficiency in the delivery of high-quality education is imperative because of the limited resources available to those students and their institutions,” David Longanecker, WICHE president, said in a press release. “For these reasons we simply must streamline the transfer process for students.”