Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

CPE launches statewide transfer strategy to boost student success

March 13, 2023

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In Kentucky, 71% of credits earned by first-time students who transferred in Fall 2021 were accepted by the four-year institution.

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education launched a statewide strategy to support transfer students at the Kentucky Student Success Collaborative Feb. 27 at the University of Kentucky.

Kentucky’s Moment: A Statewide Vision for Transfer Student Success outlines strategies to make the transfer experience between Kentucky higher education institutions more transparent and efficient. The guiding document was developed with the input of transfer specialists, advisors, college presidents, associate provosts and provosts.

“The state’s educational North Star is the 60x30 attainment goal—to have 60% of working-age Kentuckians with a degree or credential by the year 2030. This goal is critical to cultivating a highly skilled workforce to keep the state’s economy thriving,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “Helping bring our campuses together toward the common goal of facilitating the seamless transfer of students and credits among institutions is an essential piece of the college attainment puzzle. This work will help more Kentuckians obtain a degree that matters in a timely manner while reducing redundancies and financial burdens.”

The transfer strategy was developed through an equity lens using the National Association of System Heads (NASH) Equity Action Framework and the Kentucky Student Success Collaborative Equity by Design process as foundational resources.

The document outlines a strategy for pursuing systematic improvements in transfer, credit mobility and recognition of prior learning. It is organized around three strategic priorities:

For every 100 Kentucky students who graduate with an associate degree, 52 will transfer and 36 will complete a bachelor’s degree within four years after community college.

Centering student needs

CPE will launch a student-facing transfer website to help students map out how to complete any program in the state, empowering them to make informed decisions and plan effectively to complete their credential. The website will also have an institutional-facing component to equip advisors to provide accurate information to students.

The agency will support institutions in creating student journey maps that show how transfer students are faring and where they are encountering barriers to transfer and maximum applicability of transfer credits. CPE will use its data infrastructure to make student experience, progression and outcomes transparent to institutions, including evaluating credit mobility patterns across the state annually.

Building on institutional collaborations

CPE will continue to facilitate “improvement communities” to help institutions prototype tests of change and scale improvements. Through this work, CPE will help community and technical colleges and universities strengthen advising and student supports; address “hidden” prerequisites that cost students time and money; effectively translate prior learning into credits applied toward a credential; and increase the baccalaureate completion rate for students who transfer after completing an associate degree.

Removing obstacles to transfer and recognition of learning

The agency plans to analyze Kentucky’s higher education system to better understand how barriers to transfer and recognition of learning exist within structures, policies and practices. CPE will support a statewide effort to analyze curriculum, assess curricular complexity and make course sequences and bachelors’ degree requirements fully transparent. Additionally, CPE will support data efforts aimed at unpacking issues related to affordability of bachelor’s degrees for transfer students.

The strategy also supports the development and expansion of statewide transfer pathways in high-priority workforce areas that are experiencing shortages and increased demand. Beginning with the work currently underway to build a statewide transfer agreement for nursing students, CPE aims to increase the number of statewide agreements in these priority programs.

Read CPE’s transfer strategy document in full here.

Last Updated: 3/13/2023