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Top Reasons You Are Not Getting Transfer Credit (And What To Do About It)

Melissa Marcello

Ask any prospective adult student who is thinking about returning to school their top frustration with the process and the answer will likely be the same: the mystery around the awarding of transfer credit. Often students feel as though they are getting less transfer credit than they expected, or that the school has provided little rationale for why they didn’t get credit they deserve.

To make this process clearer, we’d like to share the top reasons transfer credit is not awarded, and what prospective students can do about it, particularly those who apply to—or are current students at—Champlain College Online. We believe knowledge is power, and the more our students know about their options, the more empowered they will feel in completing their bachelor’s, and pursuing the career they are striving to secure. 

What Are The Top Reasons You Are Not Getting Transfer Credit

Your Former Institution Wasn’t Regionally Accredited

Regional accreditation is the highest form of accreditation. It ensures the courses offered by an institution are high quality, instructors are qualified, and learning outcomes are demonstrable through an assessment process built into the curriculum, among other standards too numerous to list here. 

While the vast majority of institutions are regionally accredited, some (especially for-profit trade and vocational schools) are nationally accredited or not accredited at all. Most regionally accredited schools do not accept nationally accredited courses for standard transfer credit because these institutions are less regulated. As a result, it cannot be assured that students who complete coursework at nationally accredited schools have achieved the competencies outlined in the course.   

Some schools may review coursework from non-regionally accredited institutions on a case-by-case basis for electives, but rarely will they offer transfer credit for courses that are a part of the major. It is also common that nationally accredited school tuition is ineligible for corporate tuition reimbursement. 

Your Grade Was Below a C

Most regionally accredited institutions will only award transfer credit for courses where a C or higher was earned. So, if a C- or lower was earned, you are not likely to earn transfer credit.

Exceptions may be made if you are transferring in an associate degree (i.e., block transfer of credit) and the credit earned was between a C- and D, although the award of credit is always at the discretion of the receiving institution. 

In addition, Champlain, like many other regionally accredited institutions, will not transfer in courses with Pass/Fail grades unless official evidence is provided on the Transcript Key that a “Pass” is equal to at least a “C.”

The Transcript We Received Was Not Official 

In higher education, regional accreditors have strict standards about recordation, and transfer of credit is no exception. Schools may allow you to send in an unofficial transcript to review as a part of your admission package; however, they will only award credit if an official transcript is received. 

Like many institutions, Champlain College Online requires that all courses considered for transfer credit be sent by the school at which they were taken. Courses that are listed on a transcript as “Transfer Credit,” “Experiential Credit,” or Credit by Exam” will not be reviewed for credit. 

The Credits Hours Are Not Equivalent

Most colleges in the United States operate on a semester system, although there are some that are built on a quarter system. If a student attends a college with a quarter system and transfers credit into a school built on a semester system, like Champlain College Online, those credits must be converted to semester credit hours. 

If a student completes a 3-credit course from a school that uses a quarter system, that equates to 1.5 credits at an institution with a semester system, as 1.5 quarter credits is equivalent to 1 semester credit hour.

Courses less than 3 credit hours are not acceptable for transfer for any program requirement, although they may still be accepted towards general elective credit. 

Course Content Doesn’t Align or Doesn’t Exist 

During the transfer review process, the courses taken at another institution are assessed for their “equivalence” with courses at the transfer institution. If there is alignment in the learning objectives and all other criteria are met, transfer credit will be awarded. 

Sometimes, however, the description of the course taken is not included on a transcript, it cannot be found online or through TES® (Transfer Evaluation System), or the student no longer has access to a course syllabus. Without evidence to review to ensure course content equivalency, transfer credit cannot be awarded. 

Your Technical Courses Were Completed More Than 10 Years Ago

Because of the evolving nature of technology, most institutions will not accept courses to meet program requirements that were completed more than 10 years prior to the review of transfer credit. 

However, technical courses older than 10 years may still be considered for General Elective credit. 

The Course Doesn’t Fit the Program

Credit may not be awarded if the requirements the transfer course would meet have already been fulfilled by other coursework, or the course would only be accepted as an elective, and all elective credit has been filled. 

What Can You Do to Earn More Transfer Credit? 

Secure Your Official Transcripts 

Whether you are a service member and have a Joint Services Transcript (JST), or have attended another regionally accredited institution, it is critical you request that official transcripts from all institutions attended be sent to Champlain College Online in order to be considered for transfer credit.

Test Out Through The College Board’s CLEP Exams 

The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) helps students receive college credit for what you already know, for far less than the cost of a college course. Essentially, you take a test, and if you get a score of 50 or higher, you earn the credit!

If you’ve already taken CLEP exams and earned a score of 50 or higher, please send your official CLEP Transcript to our admission operations office. If you’re thinking about testing out of Champlain College Online courses using CLEP, consult with your academic advisor. 

Take an Affordable Competency-Based Class Through Study.com or Other Alternative Credit Provider

Through Champlain College Online’s partnership with Study.com, students can affordably demonstrate competency in 25 courses in areas such as accounting, computer science, communications, and more. They simply choose a course, complete the course by watching video lessons, quizzes and pass a final exam. Study.com will then send Champlain official documentation of your course completion, and transfer credit will be awarded. 

Please note that not all courses will be eligible for transfer credit, so it is important to speak with your advisor prior to enrolling in non-Champlain College Online courses.

If you have already completed a course or courses from an alternative credit provider, submit your official documentation to your academic advisor or to Champlain's admission operations team to see if your courses are eligible for transfer credit in the program you are enrolled/ interested in.

Demonstrate Your Knowledge Through the Champlain Knowledge Evaluation Tool (C-KET)

After acceptance to Champlain, students will have the opportunity to talk to their advisors about myriad opportunities for demonstrating knowledge they acquired prior to enrolling. One such option is C-KET, a timed assessment available in specific content areas, that must be completed within a 7-week term. 

Students may enroll in a C-KET course after they have completed at least one term at Champlain College Online. There is a select list of courses available for C-KET credit, and the non-refundable C-KET fee is $250 per course. 

Demonstrate Your Knowledge Through a Portfolio Assessment of Prior Learning 

Through the Portfolio Assessment of Prior Learning course, admitted undergraduate students may have the opportunity to demonstrate skills and knowledge acquired through work and life experiences that are equivalent to courses included in their degree programs. 

This course is only for students who have been admitted to a Champlain College Online associate or bachelor’s degree program, and who have a completed degree audit. If you are interested in this opportunity, contact your academic advisor to discuss a plan for earning prior learning credit that could include both testing and portfolio options, depending on your background and outstanding requirements.


 

About the Author

Melissa Marcello

Associate Vice President

Melissa Marcello is Associate Vice President of Champlain College Online, where she oversees marketing and admissions, truED, Champlain's workforce development program, and other administrative processes. She is passionate about adult learning, having returned to school herself as an adult to finish a bachelor's at USF, master's at Purdue, and start two years of a PhD program at the UW Madison that she may one day complete.

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