The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) this week announced the launch of a new program that will make it easier for transfer students—and those who have spent years in college classrooms without earning a degree—to get the credentials they deserve.

Degree Within Reach is Colorado’s way of describing reverse transfer, a process allowing students who have transferred from a Colorado Community College System campus to a Colorado university to combine credits from both institutions and apply them toward an associate’s degree. CU Denver is among the participating four-year institutions.

For current or former transfer students, this means they can complete the associate’s degree they started at a community college while still working toward a bachelor’s degree. Former transfer students may also be eligible if they left a four-year institution before earning any degree.

Research has shown that earning an associate’s en route to a bachelor’s can motivate students to fulfill their academic goals. An associate’s degree also boosts earning potential, allowing students to make more money if they’re working and going to school.

Eligible transfer students at participating institutions will be contacted by their institutions and informed of how to take advantage of this opportunity. Current or former students who transferred to a four-year institution in summer 2012 or later may be eligible.

At CU Denver, Camden Farmer, a transfer articulation specialist, has been appointed as the liaison for the program. He has been helping students who have received the Degree Within Reach letter to navigate the process.

The Registrar’s Office and Institutional Research worked together to make sure we had the correct population and then we communicated to the potentially eligible students,” Farmer said. “We will continue to communicate with students in accordance to the process the CDHE has outlined.”

Participating four-year institutions are:

  • CU Denver
  • University of Colorado Colorado Springs
  • Colorado State University
  • Colorado State University-Global Campus
  • Colorado State University-Pueblo
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Regis University
  • Western State Colorado University

By the end of 2014, all of Colorado’s colleges and universities will become part of Degree Within Reach, an initiative passed through legislation in 2012 and partially funded by a grant from the Lumina Foundation. For more information, go to Degree Within Reach.

Similar reverse transfer programs are in 15 states through Sept. 30, 2014. Projects were selected from a competitive grant process. Read all about it.

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