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The purpose of transfer is to facilitate the smooth transition of college course work taken at one college institution to another college for the benefit of the individual student. These courses are generally intended to move the student towards a baccalaureate degree.

Washington State’s community and technical college system provides educational course work and degree programs which “transfer” to upper-division institutions, both public and private. The notion of transfer is grounded in the peer-based accreditation status of the participating colleges in supporting student mobility of course work between and among the colleges.

The current community and technical college system grew out of legislation in 1967, later revised in 1991, that fostered educational opportunity for students in their own communities. These opportunities were clearly intended to include course articulation between the community/ technical colleges and the baccalaureate colleges.

These transfer arrangements have evolved over many decades to include a variety of degrees and articulation arrangements. Effective 2009, technical colleges may also offer transfer degrees in selected fields in support of professional baccalaureate work.

Transfer Within the Community and Technical College System

The Washington State Community and Technical Colleges Instruction Commission established policies that govern the acceptance of credits within the community and technical college system:

Common Course Numbering

Common course numbering makes course transfer easy between and among Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges. Common courses are those courses delivered by a number of community and technical colleges that have official college catalog descriptions similar enough to be accepted as equivalent at a receiving college for transfer purposes.

Technical College General Education Course Acceptance

The Instruction Commission and the Washington State Student Services Commission expect that all colleges in the Washington community and technical college system accept transferable technical college general education courses as equivalent to their own similar general education courses in content and purpose, in transcript credit value, and as applied to degree requirements. The Instruction Commission and Washington State Student Services Commission members will communicate this position to those in their colleges responsible for accepting transfer courses, and will send this resolution to the Education Services Committee of WACTC.

CTC Inter-College Reciprocity Policy Transfer Distribution Courses and Areas

The inter-college reciprocity policyPDF ensures that students moving between colleges are not penalized by the healthy differences in the specific general education requirements imposed by individual campuses within the general guidelines of the Transfer degrees (DTA and AS-T). Reciprocity of Prior Learning Credit added by Instruction Commission, May 2012.

Placement Reciprocity Policy and Procedure

The Placement Reciprocity Policy and Procedurepdf was approved by Student Services Commission and Instruction Commission, Spring 2013.

Prior Learning Assessment of Credit

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is an opportunity for colleges to award credit for student learning done outside of the academic system that meets NWCCU Accreditation standards. Credit earned through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) at one college will be accepted toward the appropriate course or program at any other Washington community and technical college (Guidelines for Prior Learning Assessmentpdf - approved by WACTC January 2000)

Transfer to Baccalaureate Institutions Policy

Historically, transfer policy in Washington consists of several cross-sector agreements, some of which have been adopted by the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB), the agency responsible for state transfer policy. The agreements include:

Direct Transfer Agreement

The Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) Associate Degree, sometimes called the Associate in Arts or Associate in Arts and Sciences, is the community college degree designed to transfer to most bachelors of arts degrees at Washington’s four-year institutions.

Associate in Science-Transfer (AS-T) - Tracks 1 and 2

The Associate in Science-Transfer (AS-T) degree is designed for community and technical college students seeking to major in engineering and science. Degrees structured under the AS-T umbrella provide:

  • Priority admissions consideration at public universities for most science and engineering majors ahead of non-degreed transfers.
  • Completion of similar lower division general education requirements as first- and second-year university students in engineering or science-based fields.
  • Credit for all courses completed within the AS-T up to and in some cases beyond 90 credits.
  • Opportunity to complete math and science prerequisites for the chosen major.
  • Opportunity to explore other fields within the electives included in the degree.

Associate in Science - Track 1pdf

This degree is for students interested in chemistry and related fields.

Associate in Science - Track 2PDF

This degree is for students interested in engineering and physics and related fields.

Associate in Applied Science-T (AAS-T) Degree

The Associate in Applied Science-Transfer degree is built upon the technical courses required for job preparation but also includes a college-level general education component, common in structure for all such degrees.

Major Related Programs (MRPs)

Major related programs help transfer students better prepare for the junior year upon transfer. Major Related Program (MRP) pathways follow one of the two statewide transfer agreements. "Major Related" includes early selection of academic interests for competitive selection at four-year colleges and universities.

Washington 45

The list of courses in "Washington 45" does not replace the Direct Transfer Agreement, Associate of Science Tracks I and II or any Major Related Program agreement, nor will it guarantee admission to a four-year institution.

Transfer Degree Policies

Several higher education groups composed of community and technical college and four-year college and university representatives collaborate to form policy for students transferring from a community and technical colleges to four-year colleges.

Joint Transfer Council (JTC)

The Joint Transfer Council considers statewide transfer issues and recommends policy strategies. It is a standing committee that meets about six times a year with representatives from the public and independent academic degree-granting institutions and the Washington Student Achievement Council. Orignially formed in 2003 as the Joint Access and Oversight Group (JAOG), the name was changed in the spring of 2011.

In December 2007, the JAOG prepared the JAOG Transfer Policy ReportPDF, a report summarizing transfer policies as they currently operate in Washington.

Intercollege Relations Commission (ICRC)

ICRC representatives from community and technical colleges and four-year colleges and universities work collaboratively to enforce transfer policies and make recommendations for policy change. The ICRC Handbook outlines transfer agreements, courses generally accepted for transfer and courses generally NOT accepted for transfer.

Student Transfer Rights and Responsibilities

The Student Transfer Rights and ResponsibilitiesPDF document outlines student rights and responsibilities as well as the rights and responsibilities of colleges who receive students upon transfer.

General Transferable Courses

Each year the community and technical college system identifies course areas or specific courses that meet the criteria for generally transferable courses that have not yet been listed as generally transferable. A review process results in annual updates to the list of such courses. The list is published in the ICRC Handbook found on the ICRC website.

Proportionality Agreement of 1994

The Proportionality Agreement of 1994PDFwas developed by the Transfer Task Force convened by the Higher Education Coordinating Board in fall 1992 in response to an anticipated problem of lack of sufficient space at some public baccalaureate institutions due to the potentially increasing numbers of transfer students at the community colleges. (See letter of transmittal, March 30, 1994PDF.) The proportionality agreement states that each baccalaureate institution will maintain its current (1992) proportion of community college transfer student admissions and within that number grant priority admissions to those with an associate degree or who have otherwise completed lower-division preparation. Proportional Goal for State Universitiespdf

1990 Cooperative Student Transfer Process

This 1990 Cooperative Student Transfer ProcessPDF outlines the joint process used by public four-year institutions of higher education and community colleges to establish a cooperative transfer process, which will ensure that qualified students can progress through their chosen courses of study toward their desired degrees.

1984-86 Umbrella Transfer Policy

This 1984-86 Umbrella Transfer PolicyPDF commits to transfer as a key path to the bachelor's degree adopted by the Higher Eduation Coordinating Board.

Reverse Articulation Agreement between
Western Governors University Washington and Washington CTCs

This Reverse Articulation Policy Agreementpdf enables eligible students without an associate degree who transfer credits from a community or technical college to receive their associate degree from a community or technical college, while they are an enrolled student in the University, once they have satisfied the degree requirements of the community or technical college.

Transfer Degree Approval

As of summer 2009, all community and technical colleges must seek State Board approval for programs that transfer to four-year colleges and universities within Washington State. All programs that existed prior to summer 2009 are automatically approved by the State Board. Please review the program approval policyPDF prior to completing the program approval request formWord. Questions about the program approval policy should be directed to Joyce Hammer , 360-704-4338. The completed program approval request form should be emailed to Jackie Eppler-Clark.

College in the High School Academic/Transfer Guidelines

The College in the High School Academic/Transfer GuidelinesPDF were approved by the Instruction Commission and public baccalaureate provosts in 2004.

Transfer Degree Inventory

In addition to statewide direct transfer degrees (DTA and AS-T), each community and technical college creates individual program articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities, inside and outside of Washington State. Questions about the transfer degree inventory matrix should be directed to Joyce Hammer, 360-704-4338.

University Center Partnerships

Community and technical colleges offer four- year degreespdf on their campus to increase student access to higher education.

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