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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Pathway to completing your college degree

New Policy Helps Adults Complete Degrees

At its meeting on July 27, 2016, the Council on Postsecondary Education approved a new reverse transfer policy that allows current and former students from Rhode Island public institutions to complete their studies by transferring credits back to the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI).

“You need a college credential to get ahead in today’s job market, and for Rhode Islanders with some college and no degree, reverse transfer can make a huge difference,” said Bill Foulkes, Chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “It creates another pathway to finish and move forward in their careers.”

According to estimates by the US census, there are over 131,000 adults in Rhode Island who have completed some postsecondary education but never graduated.

“In many cases, students leave their studies in good academic standing and don’t realize they have enough credits to earn an associate degree,” said Jim Purcell, Commissioner of Postsecondary Education. “This policy helps students make the most of the academic work they’ve already done.”

Reverse transfer enables students to apply credits they earned at a four-year institution toward an associate degree or certificate at a two-year institution. 

Nationally, 16 states require that all public institutions implement a process for granting an associate degree through reverse transfer. In Rhode Island, the new policy allows individuals to apply credits from the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College toward a degree or certificate at the Community College of Rhode Island.

To be eligible for this program, students must meet CCRI degree or certificate requirements, including completing at least 15 credits at CCRI. Students can also apply credits earned through prior learning assessments, which award college credit for applicable work experience, employer training, military service, independent study, non-credit courses, volunteer or community service, or non-college courses or seminars.

“Interested students simply need to have their transcripts reviewed to see if they meet the requirements for a CCRI degree,” said Phyllis Harnick, Assistant Commissioner for Planning. “We are also setting up processes to identify possible completers and reach out to them about this opportunity.”

Current and former URI, RIC, and CCRI students who are interested in this opportunity should email CCRI at to request a transcript review.

The Council on Postsecondary Education is Rhode Island’s chief policymaking body for higher education, coordinating the state’s public colleges and university (CCRI, RIC, and URI). Together with the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, the Council on Postsecondary Education is part of the Board of Education that oversees the PK-20 education system in Rhode Island.