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July 6, 2006

State-wide articulation agreement okayed

The perennial question, “Will these credits transfer?” may soon become obsolete for college students in Pennsylvania.

The state legislature has approved a plan to establish a universal credit equivalency system to make it easier for students to transfer credits for core courses between institutions of higher education within Pennsylvania and to alleviate the expense and burden of having to re-take classes when one institution refuses to accept credits earned elsewhere.

By June 30, 2007, schools must modify their core courses to ensure the equivalency of credits and establish procedures to ensure that students may transfer credits for core curriculum courses between institutions. In addition, schools must implement a universal credit equivalency system. An interim progress report is due from the schools by Dec. 31, 2006.

“We are happy with the outcome,” said Paul Supowitz, associate vice chancellor for commonwealth and city/county relations and associate general counsel. “We feel that it achieves the goal which is to make it easier and more understandable for students to make sure their credits transfer to their field of study.”

The legislation establishes a transfer and articulation oversight committee to be chaired by the state Secretary of Education (or designee) and made up of members representing Pennsylvania’s community colleges, state system of higher education schools, state-related institutions and participating independent institutions.

In addition, a seven-member dispute resolution subcommittee is mandated to develop policies and procedures to settle disagreements that may arise.

The oversight committee is to consult with faculty and staff to develop equivalency standards for foundation courses and to determine within a year equivalent courses for at least 30 hours of foundation courses for inclusion in a publicly accessible on-line database.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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