Missouri House committee passes bill to simplify transferring university credits

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 | 8:12 p.m. CST; updated 11:43 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 1, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — The House Higher Education Committee unanimously approved a bill Tuesday forcing Missouri's public universities to accept transfer credits from sister institutions.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson, R-Maryville, would streamline the process of transferring credits by requiring the universities to create a list of 25 transferable lower-division courses.

The bill also requires Missouri's Coordinating Board for Higher Education to adopt a statewide "reverse transfer" policy. The policy would let students at four-year schools receive associate degrees from community colleges once they've completed a two-year school's requirements — even if they leave the four-year school without receiving a more advanced degree.

Thomson says the current system of transferring credits isn't always to the student's benefit.

"They're not universal. They're not all the way across the state and we often time have students that transfer from school to school that don't really lose a credit, they still have it, but it doesn't really count for what they intended it to," said Thomson, a former school administrator.

Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, is opposed to the bill.

"It's a bad idea to tell universities how to conduct transfer credits because the legislatures don't know anything about (the process)," Kelly said.

He said colleges should individually deal with how credits are transferred.

Thomson said he hopes the bill will save time and money for students by streamlining the transfer of credits.

"We really feel like the more agreement we have across the board, the better off we will be for the students. If the student is held up, for different reasons, it takes more time so they are less likely to graduate," Thomson said.

Thomson added that the bill would help students graduate faster by allowing students to transfer credits back and forth between schools. It would also prevent students from paying the same course fees multiple times.

No one spoke against the bill during the hearing, and it will now move to the House Rules Committee for clearance and full House debate.

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