Articulation agreements have, for many years, been set up to allow two year community college student grads to transfer to four-year bachelors degree programs seamlessly. These agreements are generally made directly between schools within the same state, based on a mutual agreement about certain educational standards. Many four year colleges have agreements with 50 or 60 different community colleges in their region, and some actually have articulation agreements that allow high school students to get college credit for certain courses they have taken before even entering college.
A big increase in adult learners going back to college has encouraged colleges to create articulation agreements with schools outside their home states, and some online schools are even creating them. If you are either in a two-year schools and are thinking about transferring to another after finishing an associate’s degree, or you took some college courses and want to go back to college to get your degree done, it’s worth taking a look to see if any articulation agreements are in place at the school you want to study at. Key benefits could include:
- Immediate, no questions asked transfer of credits from some of the courses you have already taken toward your new school’s degree program.
- A considerable saving of money. Using transfer credits in general can help you avoid repeating any courses you have already taken and paid for. If you think far enough ahead to actually select your two year and four year schools before you even start the first program, you can save a bundle. Community colleges, in many cases, cost only $2,000. – $3,000. per year to attend, making it possible for you to get the first half of your bachelor’s degree done at a rock-bottom cost.
- Avoiding waste. If you’re starting a two-year program, and you think ahead about where you’ll want to finish a four year degree, you can look at your current school’s articulation agreements and see exactly which courses will and will not transfer to your four year school. That can help you avoid taking any classes that won’t help you in the long run. Picking the right courses can help you build up as many as 90 credits (probably over more than two years) that can be accepted as transfer credits at some four-year schools.
Online Articulation Agreements
Although many online schools accept credit transfers based on reviews of student transcripts, not many have traditionally had actual articulation agreements in place. That’s changing however. Schools like Central Penn College and Ohio University, both of which have big online degree programs, now have articulation agreements set up with regional schools. If such an agreement is set up with a school in your area where you have earned some credits, it might offer a good reason to consider taking your online courses at a college near where you live.
An alternate articulation program was set up by Ivy Bridge College of Tiffin University in 2008. It’s actually designed to help students get their first two years of college credit online, with an eye toward using those credits toward a bachelor degree at a campus-based school. The program has been particularly successful with disabled students, who benefit from not having to travel to campus to take their first two years of college, and with other students who simply don’t feel confident about leaving home right out of high school.
More here about schools with online completion programs