Shannon Watkins writes for the Martin Center about changes in the UNC System’s transfer-credit policy.

Few things are more discouraging than seeing one’s hard work go to waste—a set-back with which many transfer students are familiar.

All too often, transfer students must retake courses because their credits are not accepted at the new institution. This usually happens either because the new college doesn’t accept a course (known as “credit loss”), or it accepts the course but the credit doesn’t apply to a student’s major (known as “excess credit”).

Both credit loss and excess credits needlessly lengthen the time students have to spend in college, increasing the chances that they will drop out or sink into deeper debt.

Fortunately, the University of North Carolina system has adopted a policy that will help students transfer without losing credits and spending more money on a degree.

On October 21, Andrew Kelly, the UNC system’s senior vice president for strategy and policy, spoke about how to improve the transfer process at a Board of Governors committee meeting. Kelly began his presentation by highlighting some key facts about North Carolina transfer students.

According to Kelly, transfer enrollment has significantly increased in the last 10 years. While first-time student enrollment increased by 4 percent, transfer enrollment increased by 33 percent.

Each year, more than 15,000 students enter the UNC system from two- and four-year institutions. Over 60 percent of students who transfer in come from North Carolina community colleges; about 15 percent transfer from one UNC school to another; 20 percent come from out-of-state. …

… During his presentation, Kelly focused on how the system can boost transfer student success by addressing the problems of credit loss and excess credit. On average, transfer students have an average excess of three credits (about one class). However, Kelly emphasized that the actual number of excess credits varies a lot by institution.