Beginning the fall legislative session, the Wisconsin State Assembly on Thursday passed 2019 AB 189/SB 165, dealing with higher education credit transfers. 

The bill streamlines the credit transfer methodology between the University of Wisconsin System, Wisconsin Technical Colleges, private colleges and universities, and tribal schools.   There are two different credit transfer models used in Wisconsin, which has led to significant confusion.   The course-to-course model let students transfer up to 30 credit hours, depending on course guidelines.  The program-to-program model allowed for transferring the entirety of learning outcomes. 

Unfortunately, the bifurcated model has led to over 600 separate articulation agreements between UW institutions and the Wisconsin Technical College System.  At the committee hearing, stakeholders testified that students did not always know which credits would transfer, and that some transferable credits were not properly tracked.

The bill more than doubles the total number of transferable course credits from 30 to 72 core general education courses.  Furthermore, it requires system faculty to meet twice per year to update which credits are transferable.

“Credit transfers are an important facet to every institution of higher education in Wisconsin,” said Rep. Allen.  “The bottom line is that it increases affordability of and access to higher education.  It may help students obtain marketable skills sooner.  This is a common-sense step Wisconsin can take to help the next generation minimize their participation in the student debt avalanche.”

The bill now goes to the Senate for concurrence.

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