Mason’s Reverse Transfer program allows students to earn an associate degree while working on a bachelor’s degree at Mason. Students who have not yet earned an associate degree may be eligible to transfer courses completed at Mason back to the previously attended community college to earn an associate degree. The courses completed at Mason may count toward both the completion of the associate’s and bachelor’s degrees.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for reverse transfer, the student must have transferred from a community college to Mason with at least 15 credit hours and meet the following criteria:
- Completed at least 45 credit hours prior to transferring to Mason.
- Have not previously been awarded either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
How do I enroll?
- If you meet the criteria, you will receive an email invitation to opt-in to Reverse Transfer.
- Student opts-in to the Reverse Transfer offering
- At the end of each semester, when all grades are in, GMU will send completed grades back to the community college from which the student transferred from
- If the new grades fulfill the outstanding requirements of the Associates degree at the community college, the Associate will be awarded and GMU will be notified as such.
The National Student Clearinghouse’s Reverse Transfer platform is the first national automated solution that enables course and grade data to be transferred from a four- or two-year institution to any two-year institution to award associate degrees to eligible students.
In Reverse Transfer, the two parties exchanging course and grade data are known as the host institution (the institution where the student is currently enrolled) and degree-granting institution or DGI (the institution that will be awarding the degree). A host institution can be either a four- or two-year institution.
Reverse Transfer’s course and grade data exchange provides all the necessary student data directly from the host to facilitate credit evaluation and awarding the degree without an official transcript. The Clearinghouse, however, is not involved in the DGI’s decision, which may or may not also require an official transcript.
The typical minimum number of credits required for an associate degree is 60. DGI’s can filter total earned credit hours for students they receive in their Reverse Transfer files. Some DGI’s prefer to increase the limit as they have found a greater percentage of degrees have been awarded to records evaluated at a higher credit threshold than the typical 60.
Eligibility requirements for reverse transfer degrees are handled between the institutions exchanging course and grade data. The host institutions only send student information via the course and grade data exchange platform.
Do I need to enroll in my previous college?
No. This initiative is not asking students to re-enroll or take more courses at their previous
institution. The intention is for you to use what you have already completed toward the degree.
Courses that you are planning to complete in the future at your current university may be applied
later to the degree at your previous college.
“What if my community college does not participate?”
A student can submit a transcript to their community college for consideration. A college that does not participate in the electronic sharing of reverse transfer data still supports students transferring credits towards a degree.
Why should I be interested in getting an associate degree when I’m already at Mason?
By taking courses at Mason you may have already earned enough credits, coupled with your two-year institution credits, to get an associate degree and you should get credit for it. While you may have the best intentions to complete a bachelor’s degree, having another credential is a good “insurance policy”.
Why earn an Associate Degree?
Earning an associate degree is an important milestone in a student's academic career, as well as an important credential to have that can boost a student's resume and assist in landing better job opportunities. Many employers value the associate degree as a demonstrated commitment to achieving both educational goals and long-term career success.
In addition, a student transferring from a Virginia public community college with an earned associate’s degree may have completed general education at GMU, except for any upper-level requirements and the number of credits required to complete general education. An official transcript from the transfer institution must be received by the GMU with a notation the associate degree was awarded, in order to be reviewed for that waiver.
On average, students that complete associate degrees at community colleges graduate from four-year institutions at a rate 10% higher than their peers who do not earn associate degrees. Associate degrees are considered a pivotal milestone for students and can serve as a motivational factor towards bachelor degree completion.
The associate degree credential adds value to student profiles as they pursue co-curricular real work experiences and as they enter the workforce. Having both an associate and bachelor degree is enticing to employers because it provides a broad view of educational training and related professional experiences.
Students with associate degrees earn more over their lifespan than students with some college but no degree. Additionally, current students with associate degrees are better positioned for paid internships and higher paying jobs which can offset tuition costs that are often barriers to completion.