Many students attend a community college to save money on tuition and prepare themselves to transfer to a four-year college or university and earn a baccalaureate degree.
However, in the past when Kentucky students moved from one college or university to another, the prior credit for the courses and degrees was not always accepted by the new institution. Institutions had the latitude to make their own decisions about accepting transfer credit. This caused inconsistency across Kentucky's higher education system and made it difficult for students to graduate on time without additional costs.
In 2011, the Kentucky legislature passed HB 160, which standardized the transfer process at Kentucky's public institutions.
- Transferability of general education - Guarantees all six categories of general education courses will be accepted for transfer and degree credit, whether earned as individual courses or within multi-course blocks of gen ed.
- Common course numbering - Establishes a new statewide course numbering system for general education at KCTCS and a common catalog.
- Junior-level standing - Guarantees that graduates of an approved associate degree program will be admitted to junior-level standing at all public four-year institutions.
- Reduction of degree requirements - Encourages institutions to lower degree requirements to 60 credit hours for an associate and 120 for a baccalaureate.
- Priority admission - Guarantees graduates of an approved associate degree program priority admission to a state public university over out-of-state students if they meet the same admission criteria.
- Credit outside the classroom - Identifies courses and standard scores for awarding credit for AP, CLEP, IB, Cambridge International, and DSST exams based on the new Kentucky Standard Acceptable Scores for National Exams Table.
- Degree pathways - Outlines the appropriate courses at the community college level that will transfer toward credits needed to fulfill requirements for a bachelor's degree at a state university.
- Checks and balances - Requires institutions to notify CPE of any changes in programs or learning outcomes that will affect transferability.
- Appeals process - Establishes an appeals process regarding the transfer and acceptance of credits earned at another institution.
In addition, the bill called for the Council to develop an online portal, KnowHow2Transfer, that provides students, families and advisors information on the transfer process, institutional transfer policies, degree program requirements, and transfer contact information.
- Implementation of credit hour degree programs, course classifications, credit transfer agreements, and a statewide standardized articulation agreement - KRS 164.2951
Transfer Student Admissions
If a transfer student has 24 or more credit hours, the minimum admission requirement is a GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. However, if a transfer applicant has less than 24 credit hours, they must meet general admissions requirements, which may include a learning contract. For more information, see the Council's admissions page.
General Education Course Transferability
General Education (or Gen Ed for short) courses are the curriculum that makes up the foundation of an undergraduate degree. This set of standard classes, also known as core curriculum or gateway coursework, include English, math, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences.
The Council’s work in implementing the General Education Transfer policy promotes the transferability of general education course credit as students transfer from one Kentucky public postsecondary institution to another. The transfer of credit is based on students’ acquisition of competencies in the areas of written and oral communication, quantitative reasoning, arts and humanities, natural sciences, and social and behavioral sciences. For more information about general education transfer, see the Council's transfer policy.
Guiding Policy and Framework
- General Education Transfer Policy
- General Education Assessment Plan
- Curricular Changes Affecting General Education Transferability Form
- General Education Transfer Appeals Process
- CPE's Transfer Framework
Transfer or Articulation Agreements
Council strategies around transfer also include increasing the number of degree pathways available for students. Degree pathways are officially approved agreements between two institutions used to assist students in taking the appropriate courses at the community college level that will transfer toward credits needed to fulfill requirements for a bachelor's degree. These agreements are designed to help students make a seamless transition.
To learn more about the degree pathways available among Kentucky's public institutions, visit the the transfer section of the KnowHow2GoKY website.
Transferability of Standardized Exams
Advanced Placement (AP) and the College-Level Exam Program (CLEP) are College Board programs offering college-level credit based on testing. While both curriculums and tests are developed by the College Board, the course credit awarded is dependent on test scores and is then transferable to a Kentucky public institution.
Guiding Policy Framework
Progress on Transfer
Nationally, 41% of associate degree earners transferred from a two-year institution
to a four-year institution. According to the Council's 2021 Progress Report, the number KCTCS students who earn an associate
degree and transfer to a four-year institution within a year of earning the degree increased to 38.9%.
For more data about transfer, view the Council's transfer dashboard.
Last Updated: 3/9/2023