Reverse Transfer Policy


Reverse Transfer Policy


Moving the Needle, a report prepared by the Senate policy office and the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC), noted that greater attainment of postsecondary degrees and training would result in workers better prepared for the workforce and a stronger state economy. The Rhode Island Senate, recognizing the economic and quality-of-life benefits of having the associate degree, passed Senate Resolution S-10461 that requested that the Board of Education implement a reverse transfer policy that allows students to use credits earned at the four-year institution toward the attainment of an associate degree or certificate at a public two-year institution. The reverse transfer policy sets out the conditions for eligibility to participate in the reverse transfer initiative, and the conditions applicable for the granting of the certificate or associate degree through reverse transfer.  


Students who attend Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College or the University of Rhode Island may qualify for the conferral of the associate degree or certificate from the Community College of Rhode Island through the reverse transfer policy if the following conditions are met:

Eligibility to participate

  1. The students eligible for conferral of the associate degree through reverse transfer have earned cumulatively, a minimum of 60 college-level credits combined from Community College of Rhode Island, and/or from Rhode Island College and University of Rhode Island. 
  2. The students have not earned an associate or bachelor’s degree
  3. Students have a GPA greater than or equal to a 2.0
  4. Students have resolved any financial issues at the sending or receiving institutions
  5. Students agree to the exchange of educational data requested in compliance with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations

Eligibility for associate degree or certificate

  1. The students will complete a minimum of 15 college-level credits at Community College of Rhode Island (or one-fourth of the number of credits required for the associate degree or certificate). The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) standards require that at least one-fourth of the total number of credits (15 credits) be earned at the degree-granting institution.2 
  2. The specific degree and graduation requirements of the Community College of Rhode Island must be met for the associate degree or certificate to be awarded.
  3. Students who have completed graduation requirements at the Community College of Rhode Island once the courses are transferred back from the college or university, will have the degree or certificate awarded after the transcripts have been evaluated.
  4. Students who have a grievance regarding the awarding of a degree through reverse transfer will follow the procedure identified in the section on student rights and responsibilities in the Council on Postsecondary Education’s policy on articulation and transfer.

Responsibilities of Community College of Rhode Island (the degree-granting institution)

  1. The Community College will determine which associate degrees and certificates will be available through reverse transfer.
  2. The community college will accept up to 75% of the total credits required for the degree (45 out of 60 credits) or certificate in transfer credit.
  3. The community college is responsible for the review and evaluation of the transcripts and, with reference to Council on Postsecondary Education’s policy, has the authority to determine whether the associate degree or certificate may be conferred.  

Responsibilities of Rhode Island College and University of Rhode Island (host institutions)

  1. The host institutions shall make available information on the reverse transfer option on the institutions’ websites and in advising offices and enrollment management/records offices
  2. The host institutions will make contact information on potential completers available to the degree-granting institution
  3. The host institutions shall make transcripts available upon request by students if all financial and other provisions required by the host institution for release of transcripts to students are met.

Responsibilities of the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner

  1. The Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner will have oversight of the system-wide reverse transfer program and will review the policy and the outcomes of the reverse transfer initiative annually. Oversight will include, but not be limited to, assessment and evaluation of the policy, recommendations for changes to procedures and implementation, and review of reports on the policy’s outcomes.
  2. The Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner will collect data from the public institutions of higher education and prepare reports on the degrees awarded through this policy as required

1The text of S-1046 can be accessed here.

2NEASC Standard on Integrity in the Award of Academic Credit. 4.46 Students complete at least one fourth of their undergraduate program, including advanced work in the major or concentration, at the institution awarding the degree. In accepting transfer credit, the institution exercises the responsibility to ensure that students have met its stated learning outcomes of programs at all degree levels. The acceptance of transfer credit does not substantially diminish the proportion of intermediate and advanced coursework in a student’s academic program.


Policy Number
Legal Citation
RIGL §16-59-4
7/27/2016 (CPE)