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Students Can Earn an Associate Degree Through Reverse Transfer at Atlantic Cape Community College

November 8, 2016

As a strategy to encourage student graduation, Atlantic Cape Community College offers a “reverse transfer” option in its Dual Degree Program with Stockton University. While most students in this program earn their associate degree, then seamlessly transfer to Stockton as juniors; some students transfer before earning their associate degree, and others do not earn enough credits to graduate from Stockton with a bachelor’s degree.

One such student was Sindy Troche, 35, of Egg Harbor Township, who recently said, “My goal was to get my associate degree and then my bachelor’s, but sometimes things don’t go the way you want.”

In Sindy’s case, she had earned 56 credits at Atlantic Cape and planned to take one more course in the summer of 2014 to earn her associate degree before transferring to Stockton for the fall 2014 semester. However, she was working full-time and could not devote the necessary time to coursework that summer, so she transferred without obtaining her degree.

She began taking classes at Stockton and had been there for about a year when Wendy Gray, an Atlantic Cape program officer, contacted her and asked if she would be interested in earning her associate degree through the reverse transfer program. With this option, Atlantic Cape students who transfer to Stockton with a minimum of 32 approved credits may earn an associate degree if they complete an additional 32 credits of approved courses at Stockton. Then, they essentially transfer back to Atlantic Cape where they can earn an associate degree.

Sindy was interested, so she completed the transcript review process, met the college’s graduation requirements and received her associate degree in Human Services in December 2015. Sindy then earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology this summer at Stockton and plans to become a school psychologist.

Even though she was on track to earning her bachelor’s, earning an associate degree had been an important goal, and Sindy appreciates that the reverse transfer program, “gave me the opportunity to get my associate degree when I didn’t think I would be able to get it, even though I had the credits.”

Nationwide, each year thousands of community college students, who have not earned an associate degree, transfer to a four-year college or university, and some do not complete their bachelor’s degrees for various reasons. Yet, they have earned enough credits for an associate degree. Reverse transfer programs recognize these credits and enable these students to earn an associate degree. And these degrees help graduates compete for jobs and earn higher wages than those without degrees.

Recognizing the importance of reverse transfer programs, Sens. Cory Booker, of New Jersey, and Robert P. Casey, Jr., of Pennsylvania, plan to introduce in the U.S. Senate the CREATE Graduates Act which would award competitive grants to states to create reverse transfer programs. These programs would encourage institutions to find and assist students who have transferred from a community college to a four-year school and who have earned enough credits to be awarded an associate degree but have not collected it. The ultimate goal is to help eligible students obtain an associate degree.

For more information about Atlantic Cape’s reverse transfer program, students may contact Gray at wgray@atlantic.edu. Atlantic Cape Community College offers 46 associate degree programs, certificates, professional and career training programs that students may pursue at the Mays Landing, Atlantic City or Cape May Court House campuses. The college also offers 13 online degree programs. For more details, visit atlantic.edu.