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Appendix C. Description of MassTransfer Policy

Background

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and the system of public higher education institutions have a long history working to improve student transfer. Presently, a mobile and diverse college student population along with developments including the growing popularity of online courses and escalating curriculum requirements, have resulted in more students transferring in more complicated patterns across Massachusetts higher education institutions. Given these complexities, the MassTransfer policy seeks to provide a broad population of students with straightforward and understandable options toward the completion of associate and baccalaureate degrees, clearing the way for student access and student success in Massachusetts’ public higher education system.

MassTransfer has two main purposes:

  • to provide community college students who complete designated associate degrees with the benefits of the full transfer and applicability of credit, guaranteed admission, and a tuition discount (each benefit based on the student’s final grade point average) to linked baccalaureate programs; and
  • to provide any student in the Massachusetts public higher education system the intermediate goal of completing a portable general education transfer block which satisfies general education requirements across institutions.

MassTransfer integrates and replaces the Commonwealth Transfer Compact, Joint Admissions, and the Tuition Advantage Program into a single transfer policy to simplify the transfer process and transfer advising.

Section I: For students completing an associate degree under MassTransfer at a Massachusetts community college.

A student completing an associate degree program under MassTransfer will have graduated with a minimum of 60 credit hours and will have completed the following 34-credit general education transfer block, exclusive of developmental coursework.

English Composition/Writing 6 credit hours
Behavioral and Social Sciences 9 credit hours
Humanities and Fine Arts 9 credit hours
Natural or Physical Science   7 credit hours
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning 3 credit hours

Each associate degree program under MassTransfer is linked to baccalaureate degrees and schools at the Massachusetts state colleges and University of Massachusetts campuses across the Commonwealth. The list of associate degree programs and linked baccalaureate programs under MassTransfer will be available at www.mass.edu, as well as on the transfer websites at the individual public higher education institutions.

Benefits

A student completing an associate degree who seeks admission to a linked baccalaureate program under MassTransfer will be entitled to the following benefits based upon the final cumulative grade point average at the community college awarding the degree:

  1. A final cumulative grade point average of a 2.0 or higher
    1. Waives the admissions application fee and essay
    2. Guarantees the full transfer of college-level credits, including “D” grades, applied to the degree requirements of the linked baccalaureate degree or school at the state college or University of Massachusetts campus such that the MassTransfer student will be required to complete no more credits or courses than a native student with the following stipulations:
      • The student changes his or her major.
      • If the linked baccalaureate program requires a higher grade point average or specific courses for the major which are required of native students, the MassTransfer student must meet these requirements.
    3. Satisfies the general education requirements at the receiving institution with the receiving institution able to add no more than six additional credits / two courses in compliance with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ Standards for Accreditation. This will apply when the receiving institution already places these requirements on its native students and will determine at its discretion which credits, if any, shall be required.
    4. Note: College-level course credits consistent with the standards set forth in the Undergraduate Experience recommendations are included under MassTransfer. Credits awarded by the sending institution through CLEP, challenge examinations, and credit for prior learning shall be included when a student qualifies under MassTransfer.

  2. A final cumulative grade point average of a 2.5 or higher
    1. Grants all of the benefits outlined in section 1A.
    2. Guarantees admission to the linked baccalaureate degree or school at a Massachusetts state college or University of Massachusetts campus with the following stipulations:
      • If the linked baccalaureate program requires a higher grade point average which is required of native students, the MassTransfer student must meet this requirement.
      • If because of space or fiscal limitations the receiving institution does not admit all qualified applicants to a given major or program, the receiving institution will use the same criteria for MassTransfer applicants as it does for its native students.
      • Students must be in good academic, fiscal and disciplinary standing with all previous institutions.
  3. A final cumulative grade point average of a 3.0 or higher
    1. Grants all of the benefits outlined in sections 1A and 1B.
    2. Guarantees a tuition waiver equal to 33% of the Massachusetts resident tuition rate at a state college or University campus for two years of undergraduate enrollment with the following requirements:
      • Enrollment is continuous at the state college or University campus.
      • The student earns a cumulative grade point average of a 3.0 or higher for the first year of enrollment at the state college or University of Massachusetts campus.
    3. Note: For students demonstrating compelling hardships, institutions may exercise professional judgment regarding the above conditions.

Section II: For students completing the general education transfer block at any Massachusetts higher education institution with a 2.0 or higher grade point average.

A student completing the general education transfer block, will have earned the following 34 credit hours, exclusive of developmental coursework.

English Composition/Writing 6 credit hours
Behavioral and Social Sciences 9 credit hours
Humanities and Fine Arts 9 credit hours
Natural or Physical Science   7 credit hours
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning 3 credit hours

Benefit

Students completing the 34-credit general education transfer block (exclusive of developmental coursework) with a 2.0 or higher grade point average will be entitled to the following benefit:

  • Satisfies the general education requirements at the receiving institution with the receiving institution able to add no more than six additional credits / two courses in compliance with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ Standards for Accreditation. This will apply when the receiving institution already places these requirements on its native students and will determine at its discretion which credits, if any, shall be required. Students enrolled in a specific major or degree program may be required to take additional courses if these courses are specifically required for the major or program and are required of native students.

Section III: Information Sharing

The Massachusetts public higher education institutions agree to share information about participating students as set forth in this Section, to the extent permissible under appropriate statutes, regulations and institutional policies regarding confidentiality of student records. This exchange of information allows institutions to provide students with the broadest range of academic choices and support services, thereby creating an environment conducive to academic success.

  1. To the extent permissible under applicable law, the Massachusetts community colleges agree to provide upon request the state colleges and the University of Massachusetts campuses with directory information, as defined by the respective community college, such as names, addresses, and majors for participating students enrolled on their campuses.
  2. To the extent permissible under applicable law, the state colleges and the University of Massachusetts campuses agree to provide non-identifying student information on MassTransfer students such as graduation and retention rates, grade point averages, and academic majors and degree programs upon request from the community colleges. Any release of such information shall not, directly or indirectly, transmit personally identifying information about any student who has not granted permission for participating institutions to share such information.
  3. Each state college and University of Massachusetts campus agrees to provide freshman applicants not offered admission with information on MassTransfer if the applicant is potentially suitable for participation. The state colleges and University of Massachusetts campuses will provide the appropriate community college(s) with names and addresses of all such applicants who grant permission for the release of this information.
  4. In order to encourage students who are academically suspended, or who otherwise leave the state college or University of Massachusetts campus while not in good academic standing, to consider educational opportunities at the community colleges, the state colleges and University of Massachusetts campuses agree to undertake reasonable efforts to provide community colleges with the names, addresses and other pertinent academic records of such students who grant permission for the release of this information.

Section IV: Implementation and Oversight of MassTransfer

The implementation and oversight of MassTransfer will be provided by the Commonwealth Transfer Advisory Group convened by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. The Commonwealth Transfer Advisory Group will consider implementation and interpretative issues related to MassTransfer, assess the impact of transfer policy initiatives, consider appeals, and make recommendations about how to adapt MassTransfer to keep pace with best practices. The Commonwealth Transfer Advisory Group will be composed of a minimum of six faculty representatives; three chief academic officers; and six transfer professionals (equally distributed across the community colleges, the state colleges, and the University of Massachusetts); one representative from the Massachusetts Community College Executive Office; one representative from the State College Council of Presidents; one representative from the University of Massachusetts President’s office; two representatives from the Legislative Joint Committee on Higher Education; two representatives from the Board of Higher Education; one representative from the Department of Higher Education; and three representatives from regional or independent transfer-related groups.

The Commonwealth Transfer Advisory Group may create subcommittees, as appropriate, with a minimum of two standing subcommittees: A Subcommittee for Appeals and a Subcommittee on Statewide Transfer Alignment. The Subcommittee for Appeals will hear inter-institutional and student disputes relating to MassTransfer. The Subcommittee on Statewide Transfer Alignment will address such issues as developing statewide transfer guides by major and statewide course-to-course equivalencies, convening faculty and staff exchanges and collaboration, considering the impact of curriculum changes on student transfer activity, and sharing information about curriculum changes.

Section V: Further Understandings

Notwithstanding any provision of this policy, MassTransfer does not:

  1. Preclude community colleges or the state colleges or University of Massachusetts campuses from entering into similar agreements with other institutions of higher education.
  2. Prevent the state colleges or University of Massachusetts from admitting community college students through existing admission processes.
  3. Limit a state college or University of Massachusetts campus from eliminating a school, department or degree program.
  4. Ensure eligibility for federal, state, or institutional financial assistance.
  5. Provide any guarantees or representations regarding tuition rates or fees at the University of Massachusetts or the Massachusetts Community Colleges.

>> Next section: Appendix D. Proposed Elements and Estimated Costs of the Statewide Transfer Website

 

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