Reverse Transfer first of its kind; Innovative college agreement provides new option for students at Kutztown University and Montgomery County Community College

Submitted photo Montgomery County Community College President Karen A. Stout and Kutztown University Acting President Carlos Vargas-Aburto sign the first reverse transfer agreement between a community college and State System institution in Pennsylvania.

Kutztown >> Montgomery County Community College and Kutztown University made a bit of history on Wednesday, Aug. 20.

The two colleges signed a “reverse transfer” agreement — the first agreement of its kind between a community college and a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education university.

It is common to hear about students starting their college education at a community college and then transferring to a four-year school to complete their degree. Sometimes that transfer from a community college happens before the student achieves his or her associate’s degree.

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Under the new “reverse transfer” agreement, students who complete at least 15 credits at MCCC before transferring can now use credits they earn at Kutztown University to earn their associate’s degree.

A student typically needs between 60 and 64 credits to earn an associate’s degree, depending on the program, according to Alana Mauger, MCCC director of communications.

With a reverse transfer, a student will be able to use his or her Kutztown credits to finish his or her MCCC associate’s degree.

While at Kutztown University, the student would be notified when he or she has reached enough credits to qualify for the associate’s degree. The student can then choose to have those credits transferred back to MCCC for processing for the degree.

The agreement builds on Montgomery’s strategic efforts to increase student access, progression and completion rates, and on work being done nationally to support community college degree completion, according to MCCC President Karen A. Stout.

“The associate’s degree has value and is an important credential for community college students,” Stout said. “By earning an associate’s degree, students demonstrate their ability to complete an area of study, which can help them in the job market or with career advancement while pursing their baccalaureate degree. While we encourage our students to earn their degree before transferring, it’s important for us to understand that our students take multiple pathways to complete their education.”

Dave Johnson, Kutztown University assistant director of university relations, said the students who choose to take the option can still move forward to the bachelor’s at Kutztown.

“Getting their associate’s is a milestone and is recognition of the work they have done,” Johnson said.

A press release stated that close to 70 percent of MCCC students enter the college each year with the intention of transferring to a four-year institution, and Kutztown is a popular choice. Last year, 182 of the college’s students transferred an average 44 credits to Kutztown.

Leaders of the two institutions envision that the new agreement will serve as a model partnership for Pennsylvania community colleges and State System institutions.

“Other states and other schools are already doing this, but we’re the first in Pennsylvania to have such an agreement,” Mauger said.

MCCC and Kutztown University are not strangers to innovative agreements. In 2007, MCCC became the first community college with which Kutztown signed a dual-admissions and core-to-core transfer agreement.

“Kutztown University is excited to once again partner with Montgomery County Community College in developing another program to benefit students of our region,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto, Kutztown University’s acting president. “Serving students is at the core of all that we do, and this is truly a student-centric program.”

MCCC has campuses in Pottstown and Blue Bell.

Follow Mercury Editor Donna Rovins on Twitter @MercBiz