Dr. K. L. Allen: You never know what your future holds

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 16, 2022

If you didn’t think there was an official “week” for everything, let me correct you — there is.

Oct. 17-21 is “National Transfer Student Week,” in fact.

Now, before you issue a big sigh and tune out, let me tell you why those of us in higher education make a big to-do about it.

Email newsletter signup

If we have learned anything from the past two years, it is that sometimes life throws us a curve ball, and when it does, our best-laid plans sometimes go up in smoke—or at least get delayed.

When this happens during our educational journey and progress toward a degree or credential is put on hold, it can get especially complicated.

Not only are aspirations and goals derailed, but it can also mess with our ability to take care of ourselves or our families.

And don’t forget the financial issues that arise when money is spent toward a degree but the expected higher income from improved job prospects doesn’t materialize because the degree is left unfinished.

Only with the ability to flex, pivot and make changes is it possible to recover from unexpected hiccups and that’s just one reason the ability to transfer college credits to another institution can be a ray of hope.

Almost all higher education institutions recognize transfer credits from other institutions.

The issue is how many and is it easy to do. In Ohio, our state’s higher education leaders recognize the value of making it possible for students to easily transfer between institutions.

This is a wise approach and WGU Ohio has joined the state’s other institutions in supporting this strong student-centered policy.

I strongly recommend that students looking to restart their educations after taking time away from college, or who are starting their higher education careers for the very first time, examine how easily their institution’s credits can transfer to another.

The reason is simple: You never know what the future holds.

At WGU Ohio, we work very closely with our state’s two-year institutions to put students’ needs first and make it as easy as possible to transfer credits. As an online institution with the mission of making it easier for students—especially older, non-conventional or working students—to upgrade their skills, earn degrees and credentials and move up the career ladder, we believe that an easy credit transfer process is essential if we are going to be true to our mission.

Therefore, we have agreements with Ohio’s 23 two-year community colleges to make sure that credits students earn their transfer
seamlessly to our programs. Additionally, we provide a five percent tuition discount to students transferring from community colleges, as well as the opportunity to apply for a $2,500 Community College Partner scholarship.

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 87 percent of students who enroll in a community college plan to earn their bachelor’s degree, but only 10.7 percent achieve this goal. That is a very, very troubling statistic to me.

There are many reasons for it, but one of them is the challenge of transferring community college credits. It’s a problem that institutions can and should be committed to fixing.

WGU has been named as a top college for developing dynamic transfer pathways to community college graduates throughout the nation, and we encourage all higher education institutions to do all they can as well to remove barriers to transferring credits.

National Transfer Student Week offers the perfect opportunity for Ohio’s colleges and universities to highlight what they do to help students transfer and keep making progress toward their degrees.

It is also a good time for Ohioans looking to get back into higher education or upgrade their skills and improve their careers to learn just how easy it is for them to do.

Sometimes it is, in fact, possible to hit life’s curveballs, and with easy credit transfer programs students can drive the ball a lot farther than they probably thought they could.

Dr. K. L. Allen is the chancellor of Western Governor’s University Ohio, an online, nonprofit school serving the state.