Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker and Rock Valley College President Mike Mastroianni signed an innovative reverse transfer agreement during a Wednesday morning ceremony at the student center at the RVC main campus. The agreement allows eligible NIU students who transferred from RVC without associate degrees to earn the two-year degree using credit from NIU courses.
“Postsecondary education is a powerful force for career advancement, and a skilled workforce helps the region maintain its competitive advantage,” Baker said. “This partnership – like others we have with RVC – positions students for student career success, increasing opportunity by breaking down barriers to provide a seamless process to receive credit for work they’ve completed towards an associate degree.”
Regional and national data show that the associate degree is a valuable commodity. Employees with associate degrees typically earn an average of $7,200 more per year than employees without postsecondary credentials – almost $600,000 more in salary over a lifetime.
“The benefits to our students are profound,” Mastroianni added. “This agreement allows Rock Valley College to acknowledge the work our students have done to earn an associate degree, and it is a vital step in helping us to transform our region by increasing the number of residents who have obtained a post-high school credential. They will have earned a degree which results in higher income potential and more opportunities for their future.”
This reverse transfer option is beneficial for students who have transferred from Rock Valley to Northern Illinois before earning their associate degree. Credits completed at NIU are transferred back to RVC and used to satisfy the requirements for an associate degree, similar to how credit is transferred from a community college to NIU, but in reverse.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon – a strong proponent of increasing the proportion of working-age adults with college degrees – touted NIU’s reverse articulation program in her College Completion Playbook, released late last year. More than 150 higher education administrators from around the state received her playbook on how to help more students complete college at less cost. The guide collects the effective practices of leading educators, national experts, faculty, administrators and other professionals and specifically notes NIU’s innovative work to streamline course credit transfers from one school to another.
“In a time when we desperately need more advanced education in our community, this agreement makes that goal easier to attain,” Mastroianni said.
“Students want a hassle-free transfer process and to receive credit for the work they do,” Baker added. “With this reverse transfer agreement, we’ve got that.”