How transfer credits can help
One reason transfer credits are so attractive is they offer the potential to save time on your degree, and sometimes this translates to financial savings. At University of Phoenix (UOPX), for example, students saved between $6,368 and $21,494* in 2022 by using transfer credits.
“Those with prior college experience don’t have to start over,” explains Devin Andrews, the vice president of the office of admissions and evaluations at UOPX. “Transfer credits provide a pathway to degree completion that saves students time and money.”
Every institution is different, but the idea is the same: Applying credits you’ve already earned means you don’t have to pay to earn them again at a different school. And sometimes, earning those credits at a community college means you pay less to earn them while also being able to take advantage of special programs that encourage students to transfer from a two-year program to a four-year degree program.
How to tell if your credits will transfer
When thinking about a future transfer, being able to successfully transfer credits is arguably just as important a financial consideration as your overall tuition costs. But problems can arise when the destination school does not accept credits from the old school or lacks a transfer agreement with it.
For example, it may be difficult to obtain transfer credits at your new school if your old school was not accredited. That’s because an accredited school is held to higher standards that ensure course materials meet acceptable levels of quality. The accreditation system is overseen by the U.S. Department of Education through various accrediting agencies.
Each college or university can decide for itself which transfer credits it will accept. And even when both the original school and the destination school both possess accreditation from the same agency, a credit transfer is never guaranteed. In addition, there may be an upper limit to how many credits your destination school accepts, as well as residency requirements.
Getting credit for your education
If by this point you’re wondering, “Will my credits transfer?,” there are steps you can take to give you the best chance of success.
Plan ahead and do your research
Once you know which school you want to transfer to, you should research its transfer credit policies, its minimum grade requirements and so on. Prerequisites differ by school, so you’ll need to investigate what your target school requires.
You can start by looking for basic information on the school’s website. Some schools also make available an online transfer tool to help students identify the college transfer credits equivalency of various courses.
If you still have questions, you can reach out to the registrar at your new school, who typically oversees transfer credit programs. You can also rely on your target school’s admissions office for helpful advice.
Submit all your transcripts
Don’t neglect to submit certain transcripts because your grades were mediocre. Depending on your target school, your credits may still be accepted. You should also forward transcripts even if they seem dated, because degree requirements often remain relatively unchanged over the years and may only be deemed irrelevant if they are truly no longer pertinent to your field of study.