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Transfer Students: Postsecondary Institutions Could Promote More Consistent Consideration of Coursework by Not Basing Determinations on Accreditation

GAO-06-22 Published: Oct 18, 2005. Publicly Released: Oct 18, 2005.
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Each year thousands of students transfer from one postsecondary institution to another. The credit transfer process, to the extent that it delays students' progress, can affect the affordability of postsecondary education and the time it takes students to graduate. Seeking information on the processes and requirements that postsecondary institutions have in place to assess requests to transfer academic credits, Congress asked GAO to examine (1) how postsecondary education institutions decide which credits to accept for transfer, (2) how states and accrediting agencies facilitate the credit transfer process, and (3) the implications for students and the federal government of students' inability to transfer credits.


Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
In order to ensure consistent consideration of students' previous coursework, Congress may wish to consider further amending the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require postsecondary institutions eligible for Title IV funding to not deny transfer credits on the basis of the type of accreditation.
Closed – Implemented
Congress enacted the Higher Education Opportunity Act (P.L. 110-315) in August 2008. The Act includes a provision requiring institutions to have a clearly stated public disclosure of their transfer of credit policies, including a statement of whether the institution denies transfer of credit solely on the basis of the accrediting agency or association that accredited the institution from which the student is transferring.

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Certification and accreditationCollege studentsColleges and universitiesEducation or training costsEducational standardsFederal legislationHigher educationInstitution accreditationStandards evaluationStudent financial aidCollege creditsTransfer students