Archives for June 2014

How To Get Credit for Your Credits


Credit transfer policy is key to getting the most out of your prior education when it comes to degree completion. It seems obvious but few actually take advantage of this important part of completing their degree. You need to know what is really going on and what to do about it.

Buzz Today Hechinger Report: Veteran’s New Battle: Getting Credit for What They Already Know: The only benefit of his time in the military that the university (University of South Florida) conferred was to recognize his basic training by tossing him two credits for physical education…. But it took him longer than it needed to, in part because universities and colleges give veterans so little credit for their training and experience. In addition to time, the problem is costing veterans money to pay for courses about subjects they already know… Universities have generally been reluctant to accept transfer credit from any student…letting students forgo credit means the institutions forgo revenue.

Let’s look at the example of credit transfer in the BUZZ Today data to the right. The way this issue is reported makes it sound like all universities do what happened here, namely reject most of this veteran’s experience. The key phrase is “because universities and colleges give veterans so little credit for their training and experience.” This makes it sound like it is ALL universities and colleges who give veterans so little credit for their training and experience. What this article actually means is that the University of South Florida gave this veteran so little credit (only 2 credits) for his prior training and experience.

Here is what you need to know about this important decision. The college or university that you select has a lot to do with how many credits you will be granted for your prior learning and experience. Most potential students first select the college and then negotiate over how many credits are accepted. This places the prospective student (you) at a severe disadvantage. As the material in the BUZZ Today states, the party you are negotiating with, in this case the university where you are applying, has a strong incentive to grant as few transfer credits as possible. Every credit the university accepts reduces their potential revenue by exactly the same amount. Think of the roles as reversed. How enthusiastic would you be to accept credits if it reduced your revenue?

The point is not that colleges and universities are malicious, it is just that the incentives of the relationship are not in the favor of the applying student. You need to change the odds to your favor.

So what is the solution you ask? The answer is that you must be willing to shop around, to evaluate the offers from several universities before making the decision on where to enroll. The mistake the veteran in BUZZ Today made was in selecting the University of South Florida and then going through the credit transfer discussion. To avoid this trap you must have the credit transfer policy discussion BEFORE selecting a specific college or university.

In summary, it is not true that all universities give so little credit for prior training and experience. Some give a great deal of credit for both veteran and civilian applicants. It is very much in your interest to find out which universities are willing to accept your credits. The amount you spend and the time it will take you to complete depend on it. You have years and tens of thousands of dollars at risk it you do not take these facts into consideration before you select the school to attend.