Lumina Foundation awards $500,000 to Mo. Department of Higher Ed

Oct 15, 2012

The Missouri Department of Higher Education recently received $500,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation to increase the number of Associate’s Degree recipients in the state.

Thanks to a new initiative from five foundations and 12 states, more students might be able to receive a degree through the process of  “reverse transfer.” This happens when a student has enough credits for an Associate’s Degree from a two-year college, but for some reason didn’t finish.

Jim Applegate serves as the Lumina Foundation’s VP of Program Development. He said he is hopeful the program will either help propel students on to a four-year degree or help them find a job.

“By doing this, we’re providing people with this credential that certifies they have learned at the post-secondary college level and putting them in a position to be able to fill those jobs that require that kind of Associate Degree-level jobs," Applegate said.

Assistant commissioner Rusty Monhollon with the Missouri Department of Higher Education said a handful of schools have agreements to provide the option of a “reverse transfer” to students. He said all of the state’s public schools support a statewide policy for transfers between schools.

"We submitted letters of support from every single public two-year and public four-year institution in Missouri and also eight independent institutions," Monhollon said.

Columbia College is one of the schools that has signed on to the program. Tery Donelson is the school’s assistant vice president of enrollment management. He said Columbia College already has a reverse transfer agreement with Moberly Area Community College.

"Hey you’re from Moberly," Donelson said. "Did you get your degree? No? Hey, would you be interested in still working on your Moberly Associate’s degree while you’re here at Columbia College? No cost to you. No extra work. No extra classes. It just kind of happens as you’re proceeding to your Bachelor’s Degree."

Donelson represents the school on the state’s steering committee that will guide the “Credit When It’s Due” initiative. He said the group will meet for the first time on Oct. 24.