Credit When It's Due: FAQs for Students


Credit When It’s Due/ Reverse Transfer: FAQ for Students

Ohio is participating in a national grant initiative, Credit When It’s Due,  designed to implement “reverse-transfer,” which is a process to award associate degrees to students who earned credits that satisfied residency requirements at a community college, did not earn their associate degree, and transferred to a four-year institution where they are currently enrolled.  Thirteen public universities, five regional campuses, and all 23 community colleges in Ohio are participating in this initiative.  

1. How does the Credit When It’s Due process work?  

The Ohio Board of Regents Credit When It’s Due process identifies students who: 

  • Enrolled in one of Ohio’s public universities to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the last semester reported to the state.
  • Have earned at least 45 college-level semester credit hours at Ohio public universities or colleges.
  • Have earned at least 20 college-level semester credit hours from a participating two-year institution.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 at their current university.
  • Have not received an associate or a bachelor’s degree from Ohio public institutions.

The identified students will be contacted by their current university to begin the process of being considered for an associate degree from their previous college.  If the student grants permission for his or her academic records to be shared between the institutions, the student’s records will be reviewed to see if he or she is eligible for a degree. The college that is considering the associate degree award will contact the student to let him or her know the results of the associate degree review process. A student who qualifies for the degree will be awarded the credential. A student who does not yet qualify for an associate degree will be given information on what outstanding items may be resolved to receive an associate degree.    

2. Why should I get an associate degree if I am working on a bachelor’s degree?

The number one reason is that you have already earned it! You should get recognition for what you have already achieved. In addition, an associate degree is a sign of persistence on your way to completing a bachelor’s degree. There is no evidence among employers or educators that having an associate degree in addition to a bachelor’s degree is perceived negatively.  In fact, some employers report that an associate degree holder demonstrates that the job applicant has completed something they started and are a good bet for finishing the baccalaureate degree.  There are some cases where having an associate degree has allowed students to seek employment sooner while still working to obtain a bachelor’s degree.  An associate degree can also serve as some “insurance” in the case that life events happen that delay your progress toward a bachelor’s degree.    

3. Are there situations where students choose not to receive an associate degree?  

We have not identified scenarios where the associate degree has had a negative impact on the academic, career, or employment goals of a student. In pilots of this initiative, some students have been concerned about their eligibility to receive scholarships from private organizations for their bachelor’s degree if they receive an associate degree, but this issue is rare. We encourage students who have scholarships from private organizations to check on the policies of those organizations.  In other cases, there are students who have chosen not to receive a reverse degree award because of the impact it might have on court orders regarding divorce or alimony.     

4. How will I know if I will get a degree?  

The two-year institution that is considering the associate degree award will contact you to let you know the results of the associate degree review process. Students who qualify for the degree will be awarded the credential unless the student notifies the college that they do not want the award within the timeframe identified in the college’s communication with the student.     

5. What happens if I go through the process and don’t qualify for an associate degree?  

If your records and transcripts have been reviewed for an associate degree by your college, but you do not yet qualify for a degree, the college will share with you what must be done in order to qualify for the associate degree.  For example, your college might require you to take more courses at your current university in order to qualify for the associate degree award or to resolve outstanding fees on your record.    

6. Do I need to enroll in my previous college?  

No. This initiative is not asking students to re-enroll or take more courses at their previous institution. The intention is for you to use what you have already completed toward the degree. Courses that you are planning to complete in the future at your current university may be applied later to the degree at your previous college.    

7. What if I left my previous college many years ago before starting back at the university?  

Each participating community college or two-year institution will determine how far back they can consider credits for a particular degree.     

8. What is the cost?  

There is no fee for you to be awarded a reverse transfer associate degree through the Credit When It’s Due initiative.  Fees for requesting copies of your transcript from your current public state university to be sent to your previous college or fees for petitioning for an associate degree will be waived for students identified by this initiative.  However, some institutions may charge small fees for you to participate in graduation ceremonies or related activities. Those colleges will provide graduation information and procedures when notifying students that they have received a degree. 

If you attended multiple colleges before enrolling in your current university, you may need to request that transcripts from the other colleges you attended, including private or out-of-state colleges, be sent to the two-year college considering your degree award. The other colleges may charge fees not covered in this initiative for sending those additional transcripts to the college considering you for an associate degree.

If you would need to send additional documentation from third-party agencies for Advanced Placement scores, credit-by-exam results, or other information to be considered for a degree, you may have to pay fees to those third-party agencies.      

9. Will this affect my financial aid or scholarships?  

Getting an associate degree for work you have already completed will not impact your federal, state, or institutional financial aid. If you are receiving a scholarship from a private organization (e.g.  business organization or civic association), you should check their scholarship regulations to make sure that receiving an associate degree does not make you ineligible for the scholarship.    

10. What if I have outstanding fees at my current or previous college?  

We encourage you to resolve outstanding fees at your current or previous college to ensure that your academic records can be shared and that you can be considered for an associate degree.    

11. Does credit by exam, such as Advanced Placement or CLEP, apply to the degree?  

College-level credit awarded by a college or university based on an exam or prior learning assessments may be applied to a degree based on the degree requirements.  For example, if you have scored a 3 or better on an Advancement Placement exams, the institution will confirm the acceptance of the score.  If you did not have official copies of your AP exam scores sent to the two-year institution previously, visit the College Board website for information on how to send your scores to the college to be factored into your degree audit. You may have to pay a fee for having your scores sent.  

While there is statewide agreement on recognition for Advanced Placement assessments, each institution has its own policy regarding credit recognition based on other prior learning assessments. Please contact the two-year college considering you for a degree for more information on the process for credit by exam.    

12. What about military credit?  

All of Ohio’s public colleges and universities are members of the Servicemembers Opportunity College Consortium and will work with veterans and current service members to determine what knowledge from military experience can be assessed and credited toward a degree.    

13. Will credit from developmental education courses count toward a degree?  

Developmental education credit will not count toward an associate degree.  Development education can be helpful to your academic progress, but credit applied to a degree has to be deemed as credit from a course that covers college level material.    

14. What if I attended multiple colleges outside of my current university?  

In the Credit When It’s Due process,  the university which you currently attend will ask for permission to send your transcript to the public two-year college where you had the most credits to consider you for an associate degree.   If you grant permission, the academic records from your current university and the designated two-year college will be reviewed by the college. If the college-level credits between the two-year college reviewing your transcript and your current university are not enough to qualify you for an associate degree, you may consider sending the transcripts of other institutions, including private colleges and universities, to the two-year college reviewing you for an associate degree. You may incur charges from those additional colleges for having your transcript sent but your current public university that is participating in this initiative will not charge you for sending your transcript.    

15. Can I attend the graduation ceremony?  

Participating in graduation ceremonies is an option. The timing of your review and award may determine how soon you can participate in graduation ceremonies. Each participating college has its deadlines for participation in commencement ceremonies. In addition, some colleges may charge a fee to participate in graduation ceremonies.    

16. What if I was not enrolled in college in the last year, but received college-level credit from numerous colleges in the past? Could I be considered for an associate degree?  

There are scenarios where you may be eligible for an associate degree award from a community college you attended but do not meet the criteria of this special initiative. The Credit When It’s Due initiative only identifies students who have recently been enrolled at an Ohio public university. Contact the participating two-year college where you received the most college credits for more information about being considered for an associate degree.    

17. If I think I am eligible for an associate degree from a participating institution but I have not been contacted about this initiative, what can I do to be considered?  

This initiative identifies students who meet the following criteria:

  • Enrolled in one of Ohio’s public universities to pursue a bachelor’s degree during the last reported semester.
  • Have earned at least 45 college-level semester credit hours at Ohio public universities or colleges.
  • Have earned at least 20 college-level semester credit hours from a single two-year institution.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 at their current university.
  • Have not received an associate or a bachelor’s degree from Ohio public institutions.

There are scenarios where you may be eligible for an associate degree award from a community college or regional campus you attended but do not meet the criteria of this special initiative. For example, if you are enrolled in a private university or are no longer enrolled in a university, you may still have enough to get an associate degree from a college you attended. Contact the participating two-year college where you received the most college credits for more information. In most cases, you will need to ask the other colleges and universities you have attended to forward your transcript to the college considering you for an associate degree. You may be charged a small fee for having your transcript sent if you are not identified as a participant in this initiative.  

If you believe you meet all of the initiative criteria above but have not been contacted about the initiative, you may contact the designated representative from your university to determine if you can proceed with sending your transcript or if you should wait so that transcript fees are waived.    

18. Do I have a say in which college awards an associate degree to me?  

The Credit When It's Due initiative identifies the participating public college where you received the most college-level credit as the college that should consider you for an associate degree award. In the case that you earned the same number of credits at multiple institutions, the last two-year college with the most credit will be designated to review you for an associate degree award. If you prefer that the designated college not award the degree, you may decide not to release your transcript to that college or to decline the degree when notified. You have the right to reach out to another institution to consider you for a degree based on credits that you have acquired at multiple institutions but their award criteria, process, and fees may be different from those of this initiative.    

19. Do I have a say in which associate degree (example:  associate of arts or associates of applied technology) I receive?  

Each college has its own associate degree review process, but colleges are likely to review your academic record against the degree requirements which you are most likely to meet. After you sign the release form to have your transcript sent to your previous college, you may reach out to the college and specify the associate degree(s) for which you would like to be considered.    

20. As a parent or spouse of a student who may be eligible for this program, how can I help my family member?  

Please have your family member reach out to the contact person at their current or previous institution. A list of institutional contacts can be found here. In most cases, colleges and universities cannot legally share student academic records and other educational information with parents of adult children or spouses.