NSHE Transfer and Articulation Audit Shows Significant Improvement

HENDERSON – A recent audit of transfer and articulation agreements between Nevada’s public institutions of higher education showed a marked improvement of collaboration between the seven degree granting intuitions.

Transfer and articulation agreements are meant to create pathways for students to move credits seamlessly between one institution and another.

For some, they enroll and graduate from the same institution; however, for many others they transfer among institutions during their pursuit of higher education.

A 2015 report, conducted by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that more than one-third of college students transfer institutions, and more than half of those transfer more than once. In the report, Nevada’s percentage of transfer students was 27%.

NSHE’s audit reviewed transfer agreements within the northern and southern regions of the state.  In southern Nevada, this included agreements between the College of Southern Nevada and either University of Nevada, Las Vegas or Nevada State College. In northern Nevada, this included agreements between Great Basin College, Truckee Meadows Community College, or Western Nevada College and the University of Nevada, Reno.  Overall, 76 percent of agreements reviewed resulted in little or no loss of college credits.

“Improving the ability of students to move between our colleges and universities has been a focus of the Board of Regents, the Chancellor, and our institution leaders,” Regents Chair Kevin J. Page said. “We are now seeing positive results from the hard work of a lot of administrators, advisors, and faculty.”

The Board of Regents have been focused on this issue for some time. In 2016, the Board adopted best practices issued by the Education Commission of the States, including:

  • Transferable Core of Lower-Division Courses;
  • Statewide Common Course Numbering;
  • Statewide Guarantee Transfer of an Associate Degree; and
  • Statewide Reverse Transfer.

Ombudsman Hired

To support the State’s transfer population, NSHE hired David Singleton as its first Transfer and Articulation Ombudsperson in 2018. The Ombudsperson’s role is to help students navigate the transfer process, facilitate cross-institutional conversations on transfer advising, as well as support the system in its on-going transfer audits to ensure compliance with board policy. Additionally, the Ombudsperson coordinates transfer appeals, including the NSHE Transfer Credit Request for Review.

Chancellor Thom Reilly said the positive indications found by the audit were encouraging.

“While 76% is a strong indication of NSHE’s commitment to ensuring seamless transfer, a third audit will be conducted in the summer to ensure we are continuing to improve the transfer experience for students,” Reilly said.

The recent audit also found areas that needed improvement, including:

  • More work needs to be done to improve transfer agreements in technical courses, such as engineering.
  • Education transfer agreements need to be improved, specifically in terms of collaborating between institutions.

As an integrated system NSHE’s institutions, UNLV, University of Nevada, Reno, the College of Southern Nevada; Great Basin College; Nevada State College; Truckee Meadows Community College; Western Nevada College; and Desert Research Institute, can address all higher education needs from community college through doctoral and professional programs.