Clarify transfer credit evaluation

By Editorial Board

Columbia’s Office of Degree Evaluation determines which credits and courses transfer from students’ previous colleges toward their Columbia graduation requirements. The college accepts a maximum of 88 credit hours from regionally accredited four-year colleges or universities, and a maximum of 62 credit hours from regionally accredited two-year colleges or universities.

Many students are often confused after going through the transfer process, wondering why some courses didn’t transfer or why they didn’t receive the number of credits they expected. If not enough credits transfer, it affects students’ budgets and graduation plans by forcing them to take extra semesters to graduate.

The college should explain more clearly the evaluation process to help students better understand why some credits do not transfer.

In some cases, the process is clear cut. Credits are not granted when the student failed to earn a C or better in the course or transferred from a college not regionally accredited. Credits transferred from a quarter-hour system to Columbia’s semester-hour system will often translate as slightly fewer hours than the student had originally earned.

Furthermore, Columbia generally requires students to take all major courses here, so any major credits from previous colleges may either not transfer or only count toward college-wide electives.

However, other instances are less clear. The Office of Degree Evaluation looks at course titles, numbers and descriptions to determine whether students took college-level courses similar or equivalent in content to those offered by Columbia. The college does not make it abundantly clear how equivalency is determined, and students frequently wonder why their college-level math or Spanish courses didn’t transfer to Columbia.

Students should not be passive if they find that they didn’t receive the credit they expected for their transfer courses. The Office of Degree Evaluation is readily available to assist students with any questions or concerns they may have, and if students believe they haven’t received all the credits they were due, they can work with the office to remedy the situation. Better communication—from the college and from students having problems—can lead to a less stressful experience for

everyone involved.