Montcalm Community College became the fourth school to sign a reverse transfer agreement with Central Michigan University earlier this month.
The agreement, announced on Jan. 18, allows community college students with at least 15 credit hours to transfer to CMU to finish the 60 hours of required credit and earn an associate’s degree. The credits earned at CMU will also be reversible in the event the student wishes to return to MCC.
As mandated by state Legislature, CMU has signed reverse transfer agreements with three other colleges: Mid Michigan Community College, Delta College and West Shore Community College. MCC also has reverse transfer agreements with Ferris State University and Grand Valley State University.
“(State legislators) want as many opportunities for students to gain a degree as possible,” CMU Registrar Karen Hutslar said. “That’s the goal of the reverse transfer agreement; to allow students to get a degree.”
Upon enrollment at CMU, Montcalm students will receive a notification of the program. Once the required 60 credit hours are completed, a second notification will be issued with instructions on how to confirm the degree with both MCC and CMU.
The main focus of the program is to allow students who transfer to CMU before completing their associate degrees the chance to earn their credentials. Also, should a student drop out before completion of a higher degree, this ensures an associate degree at the very minimum.
“It can be very important. Many students start with us because they don’t have a great deal of money and need to work to support themselves or their families,” said Rob Spohr, vice president for student and academic affairs at MCC. “Getting the associate degree can help them get a better job while at CMU and help them better afford their education and lead a better life while doing it.”
The goal of the program, according to Michigan Public Act 62, is to increase student retention and degree completion at both community colleges and universities.
Under legal instruction of the state legislature, CMU is obligated to sign at least three reverse transfer agreements. This fourth agreement shows that CMU is exceeding expectations, and, according to Hutslar, the university doesn’t have plans to stop here.
“We already have three, this one makes four,” Hutslar said. “We also are currently making plans to have an agreement signed with Northwestern Michigan Community College in February. We’ll start with five and take it from there.”
There is currently no limit to the amount of reverse transfer agreements a community college or university can sign.
“This is a true win-win,” Spohr said. “Students only use it if they want to. MCC gets to show more degree completers, and CMU gets students who have earned a credential, which tends to make them more successful.”