Senate bill would simplify college credit transferST. PAUL — Students who change colleges often discover not all of their credits transfer, so a bill backed Tuesday by a Senate committee takes steps to fix that.
By: Don Davis, Worthington Daily Globe
ST. PAUL — Students who change colleges often discover not all of their credits transfer, so a bill backed Tuesday by a Senate committee takes steps to fix that.
“The state should reduce the hurdles,” Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, said. “The goal is to allow students to transfer credits seamlessly.”
A bill she authored, similar to one in the House, would require the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to do more to align courses at its 25 two-year colleges and seven state universities so credits transfer more easily. The bill also requires better communications among institutions, including posting course descriptions and outlines on their Web sites as well as providing staff training on transfers.
While the bill only affects transfers between MnSCU schools, several senators said the next step may be to make it easier to transfer to and from University of Minnesota campuses, private colleges and the military.
Students told the committee that fixing the transfer problem would save money.
“Students would pay only for classes they really need and not pay for them twice,” said Tyler Smith, who represents students in two-year schools.
But, Smith added, state taxpayers also are penalized because when credits do not transfer students needs to attend college longer, partially funded by state taxes.
Michael “Punch” Jammick said he moved from Vermilion Community College to St. Cloud State University, but he ended up taking more English classes than he needed, which cost him money he did not need to spend.
Monty Bute, representing professors, said universities accept 97 percent of credits for students coming from community colleges and across MnSCU 90 percent of credits transfer without a hitch.
“The issue is far more an issue of communication,” Bute said.
However, he added, the most serious problem is the lack of money colleges and universities get from the state. With state budget problems, higher education is looking at getting the same funding it did four years ago, and cannot afford to make the improvements in Clark’s bill, Bute said.
Clark countered by saying MnSCU already is working on the improvements and her bill should not cost more.
Davis reports for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Daily Globe.