NIU, College of Lake County sign reverse transfer agreement

NIU President Doug Baker (left) and College of Lake County President Girard W. Weber sign an innovative reverse transfer agreement.
NIU President Doug Baker (left) and College of Lake County President Girard W. Weber sign an innovative reverse transfer agreement.

Flanked by students, Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker and College of Lake County President Girard W. Weber signed an innovative reverse transfer agreement during a Sept. 5 ceremony at NIU’s Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center.

The agreement allows eligible NIU students who transferred from CLC without associate degrees to earn the two-year degree using credit from NIU courses.

“For different reasons, students may transfer without completing all the requirements for an associate degree,” Weber said. “That’s unfortunate because earning the associate degree tangibly demonstrates that a student is serious about success, and it can be a resume-enhancer for internships and summer employment. The reverse transfer agreement with NIU provides a way for students who have left CLC without their associate degree to get this valuable credential.”

Regional and national data show that the associate degree is a valuable commodity. Employees with associate degrees typically earn an average of $7,200 per year more than employees with no post-secondary credentials – almost $600,000 more in salary over a lifetime.

This reverse transfer option is beneficial for students who have transferred from CLC to NIU before earning their associate degrees. Credits completed at NIU are transferred back to CLC and used to satisfy the degree requirements for an associate degree, similar to how credit is transferred from a community college to NIU – just in reverse.

“Postsecondary education is a powerful force for career advancement, and a skilled workforce helps our region maintain its competitive advantage,” Baker said. “This partnership with CLC positions students for career success by breaking down barriers and providing a seamless process to receive credit for work they’ve already completed toward an associate degree.”

NIU now has reverse transfer agreements with six community colleges across the state, and the university expects to announce several more in the near future. These agreements allow students to better tailor their educational experiences to their own personal financial situation, skills, needs and objectives.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon specifically noted NIU’s innovative work to streamline course credit transfers from one school to another in her in her College Completion Playbook, released in 2013.

More than 150 higher education administrators from around the state received the playbook, which cites effective practices of leading educators, national experts, faculty, administrators and other professionals in helping more students complete college at less cost.

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