The State of State Transfer Policy: A Typology to Evaluate Transfer and Recognition of Learning Policies. A Working Paper

By Danielle Zaragoza -

The 2021 Report “The State of State Transfer Policy: A Typology to Evaluate Transfer and Recognition of Learning Policies” was released by HCM Strategists (HCM) in partnership with Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and Sova through the Tackling Transfer initiative. Tackling Transfer is a comprehensive effort that incorporates policy, practice, research, and strategic communications to foster the conditions for scaled and measurable improvements for baccalaureate-seeking transfer students, including the large number of students from low-income backgrounds and students of color who begin their education at community colleges.

HCM has long tracked state higher education policies and budget developments, collecting detailed metrics to inform policy development, analysis and advocacy on a host of issues. With the launch of Tackling Transfer in late 2018, HCM began aggregating data elements from our ongoing research to develop a clearer picture of the transfer policies currently in place in each state to support the deliberations of the initiative’s Policy Advisory Board. We sought to understand what policies states have adopted to facilitate student transfer, improve credit applicability and recognize student learning, and how these varied across states.

We identified 16 transfer-specific state or systemwide policy elements that illuminate the current state policy landscape. Using public sources, including research conducted by the Education Commission of the States, we have documented and updated the status of each element, forming the basis for a comprehensive national transfer policy scan.[1] The scan is periodically updated, with the last update conducted in October 2020 to support the analysis and writing of this publication. Given these updates, as well as our intention to expand the scope of the research over time, this paper is labeled a “Working Paper.” Suggestions and updates on relevant state policies are welcomed. Please send any thoughts to:

A Typology of State Transfer Policies and Recognition of Learning Policies

To support the field in monitoring and advancing necessary transfer policy reform, this report establishes a first-of-its kind typology framework to assess state transfer policies in each of four critical policy clusters that research has shown affect student outcomes:

  • Pathways and Credit Applicability;
  • Student Supports;
  • Institutional Collaboration and Implementation; and
  • Accountability.

To read the updated typology, please click here.

[1] Sources included state agency websites, legislation and statutes, higher education system policies and data from the Education Commission of the States.

Scroll Up