Procedure 212: Transfer Credit

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University Procedure #212

Section  1.  Purpose of Procedure

These procedures establish consistent practices for evaluating and accepting transfer credits for undergraduate students, consistent with Minnesota State College and University system policies and procedures and Metropolitan State University Policy 2120.

Section  2.  Authority

These procedures were established in accordance with university policy 2120 as well as with MNSCU Policy 3.21 and MNSCU Procedures 3.21.1.

Section  3.  Effective Date

This university procedure becomes effective immediately upon the signature of the President and remains in effect until modified or expressly revoked.

Section  4.  Responsibility

Responsibility for implementation and revision of these procedures is assigned to the Registrar’s Office. 

Section  5.  Definitions

  1. The “Joint Statement on the Transfer and Award of Credit”

The “Joint Statement on Transfer and Award of Credit” was developed by three national associations whose member institutions are directly involved in the transfer and award of academic credit: the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers, the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.  The joint statement is intended to serve as a guide for institutions developing or reviewing policies dealing with transfer, acceptance and award of credit.

  1. Articulation agreement

An “articulation agreement” is a formal agreement between two or more educational entities to accept credits in transfer toward a specific academic program.

  1. Developmental course

A “developmental course” is a course designed to prepare a student for entry into college level courses.

  1. Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS)

The “Degree Audit Reporting System” is an electronic system that provides for an evaluation of a student’s academic record by tracking transfer credits, program requirements, and completion of credits.

  1. Comparable or equivalent course

A comparable or equivalent course is a course determined by the faculty in the appropriate discipline to meet the following criteria: 1) be similar in nature, content and level (i.e., in expected student performance on course outcomes) to a course offered at Metropolitan State University; 2) match at least 75 percent of the content and goals of the Metropolitan State course; and, 3) for courses in a sequence, provide students with sufficient preparation to succeed in the next course in the sequence.  A course is equivalent only if it can be identified with a specific Metropolitan State University course for which it substitutes. A lower division transfer course may be considered comparable or equivalent to an upper division Metropolitan State course, but will be counted as lower division credits for the purpose of university and program requirements.  This is in accordance with MNSCU Policy 3.21 and Procedure 3.21.1.

  1. Lower Division Credits

Lower division credits are 1) credits approved for transfer from a community or technical college; and 2) credits approved for transfer from baccalaureate institutions that consider those credits as lower division (i.e. at the freshman or sophomore level).

  1. Upper Division Credits

Upper division credits are credits approved for transfer from baccalaureate institutions which consider those credits as upper division (i.e., at the junior or senior level).  

  1.  Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MNTC)

Agreement approved by Minnesota State Colleges and University System and University of Minnesota defining common general education goal areas and learning outcomes in those goal areas, as defined by MnSCU Board Policy 3.37.

  1. Regionally Accredited Institutions

A  college or university accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (www.chea.org).

  1. Non-regionally accredited institutions

Colleges not accredited by a regional accrediting body but recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. These are often proprietary schools primarily intended to provide vocational or technical education.

  1. CLEP

College Level Examination Program of the College Board, which provides a national array of examinations in a variety of fields.  See MnSCU Policy 3.33 and Procedure 3.33.1. 

  1. Advanced Placement (AP)

Advanced Placement Examination program of the College Board, which provides for examinations for college credit based on completion of approved advanced level high school courses.  These exams are only available to students completing the associated high school course. See MnSCU Policy 3.15 and Procedure 3.15.1.

  1. International Baccalaureate Examination (IB)

Examinations for potential award of credit associated by completion of all or sections of the International Baccalaureate program.  See MnSCU Policy 3.16.

  1. DANTES

Examinations provided under the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support program for a variety of academic areas.  DANTES exams are available to students associated with the military and others as well.

  • General Education and Liberal Studies Requirements (GELS)

Metropolitan State liberal education requirements as defined by University Policy 2020.

Section 6.  Overall Guidelines

  1. Comparable and equivalent courses

Courses from other institutions previously approved as equivalent to a Metropolitan State course by faculty in the appropriate discipline and entered into the DARS system will be accepted in transfer and will meet all university and program requirements satisfied by th equivalent university course, except that lower division transfer courses determined to be equivalent or comparable to an upper division university course will be counted as lower division credits for the purpose of meeting university and program requirements.    

  1. Program/Graduation Requirements

Acceptance of transfer credit upon admission to the university does not guarantee that those credits can be used to meet program and graduation requirements.  See Policy 2020.  The faculty in the discipline responsible for a particular major, minor, or other program determine the applicability of a transfer course to the major, minor, or program requirements and forward their evaluation to the Registrar’s Office for entry into the DARS system.

  1. General Education Requirements through a Previous Degree

A baccalaureate degree transferred from a regionally accredited four-year institution within the United States will satisfy the university General Education and Liberal Studies requirements.  An Associate of Arts degree from a MnSCU institution will satisfy the university General Education requirements (Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MNTC) Goal Areas I-X)) but will not apply towards the university Liberal Studies requirement.  A bachelor’s degree from an institution outside the United States does not in and of itself complete the General Education or Liberal Studies requirements, consistent with Policy 2020, section 6A.

  1. Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MNTC)

Completion of the MNTC at another MnSCU institution or the University of Minnesota completes Goals I-X of the Metropolitan State General Education requirements but does not complete the Liberal Studies requirement.  An MNTC Goal Area completed at another MnSCU institution will be considered complete at Metropolitan State.  Credit that has already been accepted in transfer to meet an MNTC goal area at a MNSCU institution where the student has matriculated will be accepted in transfer at Metropolitan State University and will apply to the same MNTC Goal Area as at the previous MnSCU institution.  The Registrar’s Office will review courses transferred from other institutions and determine on the basis of the course description and goal area learning outcomes whether to accept the course for application to a MNTC goal area.

  1. Grade Requirements

Credits assigned a grade of “D” or better will be accepted in transfer and will apply toward degree and program requirements in the same manner as Metropolitan State University courses in which a grade of “D” is earned. 

  1. Duplication of Credits

Students will only be awarded credit once for any given learning experience, e.g. a student will not receive credit towards degree requirements for both a Metropolitan State University course and a transfer course determined to be comparable or equivalent to the Metropolitan State University course.

  1. Semester vs. Quarter Hours

All transfer credits will be recorded in semester hours.  One quarter credit is equivalent to 2/3 semester credit.  Transcripts recorded in clock hours will be converted to semester credits at a ratio of 45 to 1.

  1. Credit Life

There are no restrictions for accepting credit in transfer to the university pertaining to the length of time that has passed since the credit was earned.  Faculty in individual disciplines may, when necessary to maintain the academic integrity of the major or minor program, establish restrictions on the period of time prior to admission to the university for which it will accept transfer courses as equivalent or comparable to university courses, as specified in section 10.A.3.c, below.

Section  7.  Procedures for Transfer of Credit

These procedures describe the transferability of previously transcripted credits for all students admitted to Metropolitan State University, and for all transfer course submitted for transfer after a student is admitted to the university.  The Registrar’s Office evaluates and determines transferability of credits following the “Joint Statement on Transfer and Award of Credit” (www.acenet.edu), MNSCU Policy 3.21, MNSCU Procedures 3.21.1, and University Policy 2120.

  1. Credits Included

The Registrar’s Office considers and determines transferability of credit for all newly admitted students and for students submitting additional transcripts after admission. If a course is not accepted in transfer, credits may be reviewed for transferability through the university’s appeals process (see section 9.1).

  1. Credit not transferred

Credit in the following categories is not accepted in transfer.

  1. Developmental coursework
  2. Credit from non-accredited institutions is not accepted in transfer except by appeal.

Students who believe credits not initially transferred should have transferred may appeal as specified below.

  1. Credit from Regionally Accredited Institutions

1.   Developmental Coursework: Developmental course work is not accepted in transfer.

2.   Professional/ Occupational  credits:  The university accepts up to 16 occupational/professional credits.  Additional credits will be also accepted for articulated programs as defined in the articulation agreement upon official admission to the articulated university program.  Additional courses initially evaluated as occupational/professional credits that are approved by the appropriate faculty as comparable or equivalent to a university course or as meeting major or minor program requirements will be accepted  per the faculty evaluation.

3.   General Education Courses:  Individual courses from other MNSCU colleges transfer to Metropolitan State University into the same MNTC goal as approved by the sending institution.  Completion of the entire goal at another MNSCU institution completes the goal at Metropolitan State University. Courses transferred from other institutions are evaluated by the Registrar’s office for applicability to MNTC Goal Areas and the Liberal Studies requirement. Students may appeal for further review of courses not accepted for an MNTC requirement by review by the Registrar’s Office

4.   Articulation Agreements: Credits will be accepted for articulated programs as defined in the agreement.

  1. Credit from Non-regionally Accredited Institutions

These may include colleges or universities that are not accredited by a regional accrediting body but that are recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (www.chea.org).

  1. Developmental Courses:  Developmental courses will not be accepted in transfer.
  1. Occupational/professional credits:  The university will accept in transfer up to a maximum of 16 credits in occupational/developmental areas as elective credit.  Additional credits will be accepted as specified by an approved articulation agreement upon official admission to the program covered by the approved articulation agreement.  Courses initially evaluated as occupational/professional credits that are approved by the appropriate faculty as comparable or equivalent courses  or as meeting major or minor program requirements or will be accepted as per the faculty evaluation.
  1. Comparable or Equivalent courses:  Courses previously evaluated by appropriate Metropolitan State faculty and approved as comparable or equivalent to specific Metropolitan State courses will be accepted in transfer as comparable or equivalent courses and will meet program and graduation requirements as evaluated by the appropriate faculty.
  1. General Education Requirements: Credit from non-regionally accredited institutions is accepted for general education/MNTC goal areas if that credit has been accepted for those goal areas by a previous MNSCU institution where the student has matriculated. Additional courses evaluated by the Registrar’s Office as meeting an MNTC goal area on the basis of the course description and goal area learning objectives will also be accepted in transfer and for the appropriate goal area.  Students who believe that additional courses should have been accepted for a goal area may appeal.
  1. Articulation Agreements:  Credits will be accepted for articulated programs as defined in the agreement.
  1. Credits from Non-accredited Institutions

Non-accredited institutions/programs are those which are not recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (www.chea.org).  The university generally does not accept credit from non-accredited institutions. Students have the right to appeal and to provide additional evidence to demonstrate that the courses from the non-accredited institutions meet standards of quality and comparability as per the Joint Statement, and Board and university policy and system procedures.  Students who believe that their learning in courses not accepted in transfer is comparable to that required for university courses may seek to earn university credit through the prior learning evaluation procedure.

  1. Credits from Institutions Outside the United States.

Credit from institutions outside the United States will be considered for transferability under the conditions listed below.  Students with a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution outside the United States who are seeking a Metropolitan State University degree must complete all degree and program requirements, including general education requirements, consistent with Policy 2020, section 6A.

1.   Credits from institutions outside the United States must meet the standards for college-level credit as articulated in the “Joint Statement on the Transfer and Award of Credit” (www.acenet.edu).

2.   Transcripts from institutions from outside the United States must include or be accompanied by acceptable documentation as defined by the Registrar’s Office, including the following:

a)   a certified English translation of the transcript from appropriate agencies as defined by the Registrar’s Office, and 

b)   a documented approval of the credit earned from the appropriate agency in the sending institution’s country of origin.

3.   Transcripts from institutions outside the U.S. must also include a course-by-course evaluation by an outside transcript evaluation service acceptable to the Registrar’s Office, such as Educational Credit Evaluations (ECE), World Education Services (WES), or Association of Admissions and College Registrar Officers (AACRO).   Such evaluation, however, does not imply and is not sufficient to determine equivalence to Metropolitan State University courses or applicability to specific degree, major, or minor program requirements.

4.   Credit evaluated by an approved outside transcript evaluation service as developmental or not applicable to an associates, bachelors or graduate degree program will not be transferred.

5.   Occupational/professional credit:  Up to 16 credits of course work evaluated by an approved outside transcript evaluation service as college level but appropriate for an occupational or professional area will be accepted in transfer as elective credit.

6.   Credit evaluated by an approved outside transcript evaluation service as college level, and not occupational or professional in nature will be accepted in transfer.

7.   Courses accepted in transfer will be evaluated by the Registrar’s Office for applicability to General Education/MNTC Goal Areas and the Liberal Studies requirement.  If students believe that courses not initially accepted for a Goal Area or the Liberal Studies requirement would meet the learning outcomes for a goal area, they may appeal and provide additional verification of the content and nature of the courses.

8.   Faculty in the appropriate subject area will evaluate course accepted in transfer for equivalence to Metropolitan State courses and/or applicability to major, minor, or other program requirements.

G.  Transfer Credit from Other Sources

Procedures for evaluating transcripted credit from other sources are in accordance with MNSCU Procedure 3.35.1 Credit for Prior Learning and MNSCU Procedure 3.33.1 College-Level Examination Program Credit (CLEP).  Responsibility for determination of equivalence to a particular university course or applicability of transferred credit to degree or program requirements will lie with the faculty in the area appropriate to the transferred credit (e.g. determination of whether an A.P. Calculus exam score will be accepted as equivalent to a university calculus course will be made by the university Math faculty).    Up to 16 credits may be accepted as electives in areas evaluated as college-level but occupational or technical in nature.

1.   Non-collegiate Learning: Credit will be evaluated for transfer upon receipt of official transcripts for learning/training from institutions recognized by the American Council on Education (ACE) as published in the National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs at www.acenet.edu.

2.   Military Training:  Military training will be evaluated for transfer from official military documents, including DD214, certificates of completion, and an official SMART or AARTS transcript.  The American Council on Education’s Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experience in the Armed forces will be used to evaluate military education and experience. 

3.   CLEP:  Credits will be awarded for satisfactory examination scores through the College Level Equivalency Program (CLEP).  Student must provide an official report of CLEP examination scores in order to receive credit.  These are available from the College Board at www.collegeboard.com.   Course equivalency information for CLEP is available at www.uselectmn.org

4.   Advanced Placement:  Credit will be granted for Advanced Placement based on MNSCU policy.   Student must provide an official report of AP examination scores in order to receive credit.  Official transcripts available through www.collegeboard.com

5.   International Baccalaureate Examination: Credit will be granted for International Baccalaureate based on MNSCU policy.  Student must provide an official report of IB examination scores in order to receive credit.  Official transcripts available through transcripts.ibna@ibo.org

6.   DANTES: Credit will be granted for satisfactory examinations through Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education support (DANTES).  Official test results available through http://www.dantes.doded.mil/dantes_web/danteshome.asp

Section 8.   Student Responsibility

A.  Transcripts and Supporting Documentation

Consistent with MNSCU procedure 3.21.1, students are responsible for submitting to the university an official transcript from all previously attempted post-secondary study as well as and any other required supporting documentation as determined by the Registrar’s Office.  These must be official transcripts sent directly from the sending institution to Metropolitan State University.  (Failure to notify the university of previous attendance at a post-secondary institution upon application for admission to the university may be considered a violation of the University Student Conduct Code.) 

Section 9.  Student Appeal

If student is not satisfied with a college or university transfer decision, the student may appeal that transfer decision.

A.  Procedures for University Level Appeals

Students may appeal decisions regarding the transfer of credit and applicability of courses comparable or equivalent to the general education/MNTC Goal Areas and Liberal Studies requirement (GELS) through the university’s appeals process.   Students may also request an evaluation of the applicability of courses accepted in transfer into a chosen major or program through a departmental review in the appropriate college.  These procedures are consistent with MNSCU procedures 3.21.1

1.   University Appeals process:  Upon receiving their initial DARS report showing credits awarded in transfer and application of courses to general education and Liberal Studies requirements, students are responsible for reviewing the report and, if they question the transfer decisions, follow these steps:

a)   Prior to submitting a formal appeal, students should consult their assigned academic advisor to clarify questions and to confirm there are no errors in the student’s DARS report.  Advisors can check possible errors by contacting the Registrar’s DARS Transfer liaison for their college.

b)   A student  who wants to appeal a transfer decision regarding transfer of credit or application of a course to a MNTC Goal area or Liberal Studies requirement completes a “Transfer Credit Evaluation Appeal for Specific Courses” form.  This form is available online through the Registrar’s Office web page.  All appeals should state clearly the course(s) for which review is requested and the specific request (e.g. accept in transfer; accept for Goal III).

c)   The student submits the appeal form, along with appropriate documentation to the Office of the Registrar as soon as possible after  receiving their transfer evaluation. All appeals must be stated clearly and must include appropriate supporting documents [e.g., course descriptions from the catalog in place at the time the course was completed (available through Records in the sending institution), syllabi, DARS report from previous institution]. Appeals will be decided on the basis of the documentation provided, and appeals lacking sufficient documentation will be denied.

d)   The Registrar’s Office forwards the appeal for appropriate review and provides the student with a written response and rationale for the decision.  Appeals are reviewed by:

1.   Appeals regarding transfer of credit:  The Registrar and a designated Transfer Evaluator, in consultation with faculty in the appropriate academic department as necessary,

2.   Appeals regarding application of courses to MNTC Goal  Areas or the Liberal Studies requirement will be forwarded to the Chair of the University GELS Committee for review on behalf of the committee.  The Chair will determine whether review by the committee is necessary for action on the appeal.

        Students will receive a response to their appeal within approximately 30 days.

e)   Further appeal options:  Students who are dissatisfied with the response to their appeal may appeal that decision at the MNSCU system level as per MnSCU System Procedure 3.21.1.

2.   Departmental  evaluation of transfer credits relevant to college majors.

Each department or college shall provide a procedure by which a student can submit a written appeal for review of a decision not to accept a transfer course or courses to satisfy a major, minor, or program requirement.  Students appealing the application of transfer credit to their major must appeal in writing through the procedure defined by the college or department in which the major is housed.  Students will receive a timely response providing a rationale for the decision.  Students who disagree with the resolution of the appeal may submit an appeal at the system level as per MnSCU System Procedure 3.21.1 or may submit an appeal of the major, program, or degree requirement as specified by University Procedure 300.

B.  Procedures for System Level Appeals

If the student is not satisfied with the college or university transfer appeal decision, the student may submit a request to the Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs for a system level appeal of the college or university transfer appeal decision as per MnSCU System Procedure 3.21.1:

1.   A student shall appeal a transfer decision at the university level prior to appeal at the system level.

2.   The system level appeal request shall include a copy of the college or university transfer appeal decision with supporting rationale, transcript and other documentation.

3.   To be considered, the student appeal for a decision that involves credits from MNSCU system colleges and universities must have the support of the chief academic officer or designee of the sending system college or university.  When a transfer decision involves credit earned at an institution outside the system colleges and universities, the support of a chief academic officer or designee is not required. 

Section 10.  University Procedures for Evaluation of Transfer Coursework

A.  Procedures for Departmental Evaluation of Transfer Coursework

1.   Authority: Course equivalency is determined by the faculty in the department/program that offers the course, not other programs that require the course. Major or minor program faculty departments may approve individual student exceptions to program requirements as educationally appropriate. Appropriate faculty can delegate authority to approve certain courses or application of transfer courses to certain requirements to university administrative faculty or staff, and may define guidelines for the review. 

2.   Appropriate Documentation: Appropriate documentation for evaluating transfer coursework is the catalog course description.

a)   Course Outlines:  If the catalog description is insufficient, or the nature of the course requires unusually close matching of topics and learning goals, a “Course Outline” qualifies as appropriate description. Note:  All MNSCU institutions are required to submit a course outline as part of the approval process for each course in their curriculum.  Because equivalency is approved for a course, not for a given section, the Course Outline is preferable to the syllabus for determining possible equivalence. 

b)   Syllabus:  If a course description is not adequate and a Course Outline is not available, a syllabus may reasonably be substituted.  A syllabus is an individual faculty member’s plan for implementing the Course Outline in a given term and section and may not represent core learning outcomes for a course.   

c)   Introductory or other common courses:  In some cases, introductory or other common course content may be standardized enough so that an evaluator may approve an equivalent based solely on course title and credits. 

3.   Equivalent courses:

a)   Definition:  Course equivalence refers to a course-to-course correspondence or two courses which correspond to one Metropolitan State University course.  A course is equivalent only if it can consistently be substituted for a specific Metro State course (or courses) in the university’s curriculum and requirements.  A decision to accept a course for a general or major requirement without identifying a specific Metropolitan State course for which it substitutes is not a course equivalent.  MnSCU transfer policy states that for equivalence, a course must: 

1)   Be comparable in nature, content and level

2)   Include at least 75% of the course content

3)   Be “sufficient preparation to succeed in next course in the sequence,” in cases of sequence courses.

b)   Consistency:  If a course is approved for one student, the equivalence will apply to all students except in unusual circumstances; course approval is for the course, not for the particular section, instructor, or offering of the course.

c)   Duration:  Unless otherwise specified, an approved equivalent is active from all source and Metropolitan State catalogs while the department, course number, title, and credits remain the same, or until the approval is revoked.  If approval is revoked (e.g., the discipline changes), start and end dates will be entered in DARS, specific to particular courses. 

d)   Course Equivalency Form:  A course equivalency form, available from the Registrar’s Office must be submitted in order for course equivalencies to be entered into DARS.  In consultation with the college DARS liaison in the Registrar’s Office, alternate arrangements for providing the information needed for DARS entry may be made under some circumstances, e.g. evaluation of the entire curriculum in a discipline at a particular institution.

  1. Course Exceptions:  Definition:  A transfer course approval to satisfy a major or minor program requirement is categorized as an “exception”  under the following conditions: 1) when that course does not have an equivalent at Metropolitan State University; 2) when appropriate documentation is not available, 3) when an atypical combination of courses and/or other learning experiences is approved as satisfying a requirement  As noted above, appropriate faculty can approve individual student exceptions as educationally appropriate (e.g. combination of two courses from two different institutions meets a requirement).
  1. Credit life policies for major/minor program requirements:  Faculty in a discipline may choose to reevaluate their review of course equivalencies with each new catalog.  Faculty in a discipline may, for specified reasons related to the academic integrity of the program,  establish credit life or “sunset” limits that require otherwise-equivalent courses to be taken within a fixed period of time prior to the student’s admission to the University in order for the courses to apply to a major or minor program requirement.  Faculty that establish such a policy assume responsibility for communicating that policy clearly in written and online program information, for notifying Admissions and Records staff of the policy, and for monitoring that policy and notifying the Registrar’s Office to enter degree requirement “exceptions” or otherwise ensure that DARS rejects the course for each affected student. 

B.  Procedures for Course Entry into the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS)

All departmental course evaluations must be forwarded to the Registrar’s Office and  entered into DARS to ensure students receive a DARS report that accurately reflects their major program requirements. 

1.   Major Declarations:  Departmental evaluations must be complete and submitted to the Registrar’s Office in order for a major declaration to be approved and entered into the records system and DARS.  Required documentation includes the following:

a)   Major Declaration Form signed by both the student and the college representative (http://www.metrostate.edu/msweb/pathway/registration/forms.cfm)and 

b)   Departmental major checklist in which the following is specified:  the course number, title, and sending institution. 

2.   Course Equivalence Forms:  A course equivalence form, available from the Registrar’s Office, must be submitted in order for course equivalencies o be entered into DARS.

3.   Documentation of ExceptionsMajor departments are responsible for submitting to the Registrar’s Office documentation of approval for courses in the following categories:  a course accepted for a major requirement that lacks an approved course-to-course equivalent, application of “sunset” requirements (i.e., requirements excluding older coursework), and other exceptions.  Such approvals may need to be entered into DARS on a student-by-student basis.

Section 11.  Update of this Procedure

The Registrar is responsible for reviewing this procedure at least every three years.  From time to time, the Registrar, with approval of the Provost and the Vice President for Student Affairs, may make changes in operational details of this procedure not affecting responsibility for transfer, equivalence, and curriculum responsibility to reflect changes in staff titles or roles or changes in MnSCU Board Policy or System Procedure.   If such changes become necessary, Timely and appropriate notification will be provided to deans, faculty, students, and affected staff.

Section 12.  Approval

Issued on this 1st day of December, 2009

 

 

Sue Hammersmith, Ph.D, President