Six higher-learning institutions announce reverse-transfer program for college students

Six Upper Peninsula colleges and universities have agreed to a reverse transfer system that will help students at Michigan Tech, Finlandia, Lake Superior State, Northern, Bay College and Gogebic Community College.

Quite a few college students work toward an associate’s degree with a mind toward transferring the credits over to a bachelor’s degree, but it’s usually not done the other way around, even though that can have real benefits to students who are also working. With the reverse transfer program, students who have some credits left on their associate's degree while still working on a bachelor’s degree, can apply undergraduate credits toward gaining the associate’s degree first.

This is designed to help U.P. students enter the workforce sooner and gain experience in their field or a related career while continuing to pursue a bachelor's degree.

"The associate degree is a valuable credential in the employment market, both as evidence of job preparation and for career advancement," says Philip Johnson, president of Finlandia University. "This option will give students a degree they can use to enter the workforce while they continue on to a bachelor’s degree."

In a joint statement, the presidents of the six schools said the agreement should help in several key areas for the schools: undocumented learning, increasing and promoting associate degree completion for transfer students, and encouraging students to continue on to a bachelor's degree. For students, the benefits are clear: the ability to work and earn while in school can keep some students from leaving college unfinished in order to support a family or themselves. The associate's degree also gives a transfer student's resume an extra credential to demonstrate to employers their commitment.

Students at any of the colleges should talk to the registrar's office of their school for more information.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Philip Johnson, Finlandia University

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