Wisconsin Eases Transfer System, Combats 2-yr Stigma

The University of Wisconsin System is trying to help transfer students get a degree quicker and cheaper as part of its effort to increase the number of college graduates in the state, writes Karen Herzog at JS Online.

Capturing their credits, and putting them on the quickest path to a degree, is one way the UW System hopes to boost the number of college degrees it awards, said UW System President Kevin Reilly:

"We need to make it as seamless and simple as we can. In my 15 years here, we've come a long way toward making transfer easier."

The transfer plans are part of a broader online tool called the UW System Transfer Information System, which helps students determine which credits will transfer among schools, writes Herzog.

The new transfer plans can track how many credits students have earned and how many they still need to complete a specific major.

"It can shorten the time and cost to a degree," said Janice Sheppard, the UW System's interim assistant vice president for student affairs. "The primary goal is to help students have information they need to make a clear and accurate academic plan for themselves, and weigh their options of majors."

Reilly said it has been the role of the UW System to provide students considering transferring with the necessary tools to do so with confidence and ease, writes Matt Huppert at the Badger Herald.

It's frustrating for potential transfer students to take unnecessary classes as it drives up the cost for both students and universities, which otherwise could give spots in classes to others who need them, said David Giroux, spokesman for the UW System.

Helping students get a college degree quicker and cheaper will open up more spots for other students to attend UW's four-year universities, Reilly said.

"It's all about access and graduation rates," said Giroux. "It's about meeting students where they are, and helping them get into and through college in greater numbers."

This comes as many college students are seeking less expensive paths to a degree.

UW's two-year colleges are cheaper than its four-year universities, writes Herzog.

"The average in-state tuition at the two-year schools is about $4,800 per year while in-state tuition at the four-year universities ranges from about $6,000 to about $8,600. UW-Madison's 2011 tuition is $9,671."

"There's a trend of really seeing this as an equitable option for degree completion," said Annette McDaniel, an assistant dean in student life at UW-Madison.

"In the past, there was more stigma with transfers. Over the last 10 years, we're seeing such great trends of fully supporting the unique experiences of students who transfer."

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