Students who transfer from Coconino Community College to Northern Arizona University may be getting more than they expected on their path to a bachelor’s degree.

The two institutions recently embarked on a reverse transfer program that will allow students to complete their associate degree after they’ve transferred from CCC to NAU.

Credits earned at NAU that are necessary to complete an associate degree may be transferred back to the community college to meet CCC’s graduation requirements.

The program is a new facet in the collaboration between the education institutions and builds upon the CCC2NAU partnership created to streamline the path for students seeking a bachelor’s degree.

“This project between Coconino Community College and Northern Arizona University is another aspect of our longstanding partnership that directly benefits students,” said Karen Pugliesi, vice provost of Academic Affairs. “Students who hold an associate degree have greater earning potential than those who do not, and can reap those rewards even as they work to complete their bachelor’s degree.”

Once a student is identified by NAU as a potential candidate for an associate degree, CCC academic advisers evaluate the student’s transcripts. If the student meets the requirements, a degree will be awarded automatically.

Thus far, NAU has identified and contacted 386 students to notify them of their eligibility to earn an associate degree. Collaborative advising already is in place through CCC2NAU, which is expected to accomplish reverse transfer seamlessly from here forward.

Students who enroll at community colleges are not required to complete an associate degree before transferring credits to a university, so their failure to complete a degree counts against the community college in the annual Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System collected each year by the National Center for Education Statistics. By implementing a reverse transfer program, the institutions can account for students continuing their education and better quantify successes at both CCC and NAU.

“Just because students have moved on to NAU does not mean that they did not meet their educational goals at CCC,” said Veronica Hipolito, director of Student Services at CCC. “The reverse transfer program closes the loop. So far, the response from students has been great; they are excited to get their associate degree.”