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Students may get degrees by transfer of credits from four-year colleges to community colleges

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) have introduced bipartisan legislation to make it easier for students to get degrees they have already earned by ‘reverse’ transferring college credits from four-year institutions to community colleges.

For certain workers, an associate’s degree or certificate is the most affordable, accessible pathway toward a higher-paying job. Many job openings in growth industries such as cybersecurity and healthcare do not typically require a four-year degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of employed college graduates across the country are in jobs that require less than a four-year college education.

“This bipartisan bill will make it easier for people to receive degrees that they’ve already paid for, worked towards, and earned,” said Sen. Warner. “This bill will give schools one more tool to prepare degree seekers for the workforce – equipping them with credentials that would have otherwise been left on the table. These folks will enter the job market with higher earning potential and better positioned to repay any student loan debt they might have accrued. As the Senate works to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, I’m hopeful that we can work together to advance this and other bipartisan, consensus proposals.”

“I am happy to introduce legislation with Senator Warner to streamline the reverse transfer process. Eliminating this regulatory hurdle will enable millions of students to get credit for their college coursework and finally attain a degree or certificate,” said Sen. Hatch. “Students with a credential are more likely to be employed and earn higher wages than non-credentialed individuals over the course of their lifetime. In an ever-evolving and competitive job market, we must ensure that students are able to get credit for the work they have done so that they can have a better chance for success in today’s workforce.”

Roughly one-third of occupations require some postsecondary education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce estimates that at current graduation rates, our economy will face a shortage of 5 million workers with the necessary education and training by 2020. Increasing the number of Americans with postsecondary credentials, such as associate’s degrees or certificates, will be essential to addressing this challenge.

The National Student Clearinghouse, an educational nonprofit that verifies enrollment data, has identified over four million individuals – including more than 123,000 Virginians – who have completed enough credit hours at a four-year institution to be eligible for an associate’s degree, but instead withdrew without a degree or certificate, the news release stated.

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