Transfer credit policy changes at Wayne State provide more equity, access for students

Wayne State and Jackson leaders signing the Transfer Pathway agreement
Signing the Transfer Pathway agreement are
VP Ahmad Ezzeddine (left), Provost Mark Kornbluh,
President Daniel Phelan and Arts and Sciences Dean Todd Butler.

Wayne State University has expanded access to a four-year degree by simplifying transfer credit for all students from two-year colleges, eliminating the transfer credit limit and allowing students to transfer all earned credit for a quicker path to graduation.

The limit also was eliminated on the number of transferrable credits earned in applied, technical, or vocational programs that will be accepted toward a bachelor's degree at WSU. This important update provides students in Associate in Applied Science and other two-year degree programs with equal opportunities to transfer into Wayne State bachelor's degree programs.

Provost Mark Kornbluh says removing obstacles so more students can complete a four-year degree is part of university's 2022-27 strategic plan.

"Two key priorities in our strategic plan include launching a campuswide initiative to further educational attainment for people with partial college educations, and increasing graduation rates for community college transfers to 60%," Kornbluh says.

"These policy changes link to the university's overall mission and vision, they are measurable, and they both relate to social mobility. We know that a college education is an investment in the future, and students with four-year degrees have more opportunities than students with only a high school education. We are proud of our mission of access and we are committed to providing it to our students."

Previously, students could transfer up to 64 credits from an accredited community college and 12 technical or vocational credits, while students transferring from a baccalaureate-issuing institution could transfer an unlimited number of credits. The new policy puts all transfer students in equal standing, regardless of the type of institution they come from.

Ahmad Ezzeddine, vice president of academic student affairs and global engagement at Wayne State, says the new policy greatly benefits transfer students, many of whom are first-generation or from underserved communities. More than 40% of undergraduates nationwide begin their studies at a community college but Wayne State's percentage is even higher, with about 45% of recent graduates beginning as transfer students.

"The most pressing barriers for transfer students are lack of clear pathways to a degree and the loss of credits they experience when they transition to a university," Ezzeddine says. "By limiting the number of credits that students could transfer to Wayne State from two-year institutions, transfer students were losing academic credits that they have already achieved.

"Those limitations often resulted in students needing additional elective credits from WSU in order to graduate, which increases the time transfer students need to earn a bachelor's degree and the costs associated with that. When faced with more cost and time to graduation, transfer students frequently choose not to pursue additional credentials such as certificates, minors, and dual degrees while at WSU."

Leaders from Jackson College and Wayne State
Leaders from Jackson College and Wayne State

The first step in implementing the changes was made official when Wayne State and Jackson College signed the new WSU-JC Transfer Pathway agreement for Jackson students interested in earning an associate degree and/or certificate (pre-baccalaureate) and then continuing their education into a corresponding WSU bachelor's degree program.

Jackson students who complete one of over 30 different associate degrees and/or certificates with Michigan Transfer Agreement certification, with a minimum 2.5 overall GPA, will be eligible for seamless transfer into one of these WSU bachelor's programs: business administration (accounting, finance, global supply chain management, information systems management, management or marketing), criminal justice, electrical/electronic engineering technology, mechanical engineering, mechanical engineering technology or public health.

Jackson College President Daniel Phelan supports the policy changes.

"The best way to increase associate and bachelor's degree completion in the state of Michigan is for colleges to work together to create seamless transitions for students," Phelan says. "This new policy does just that. It improves transfer student outcomes in an equitable way. We are deeply grateful to Wayne State University for their partnership in this endeavor, as well as for their ongoing partnership at our University Attendance Center at Jackson College.

Transfer Pathway students must meet the university's admission standards and can only transfer courses with a grade of "C" or higher. Remedial or development coursework is not accepted. Students must take at least 30 credits at Wayne State and complete the same number of upper division credits as non-transfers to complete a bachelor's degree.

"The new policy will support the State of Michigan Talent initiatives and help provide the state of Michigan with a well-prepared workforce needed in a changing economy by ensuring that students can pursue advanced degrees in a coherent and timely fashion with minimal redundancy and delay," Ezzeddine says.

The changes go into effect in August.

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