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Section 10-C of the South Carolina School-to-Work Transition Act (1994) stipulates that the Council of College and University Presidents and the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education, operating through the Commission on Higher Education, will develop better articulation of associate and baccalaureate degree programs. To comply with this requirement, the Commission, upon the advice of the Council of Presidents, established a Transfer Articulation Policy Committee composed of four-year institutions' vice presidents for academic affairs and the associate director for instruction of the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education. The principle outcomes derived from the work of that committee and accepted by the Commission on Higher Education on July 6, 1995, were:
- An expanded list of 86 courses which will transfer to four-year public institutions of South Carolina from the two-year public institutions;
- A statewide policy document on good practices in transfer to be followed by all public institutions of higher education in the state of South Carolina, which was accepted in principle by the Advisory Committee on Academic Programs and the Commission; and
- Six task forces on statewide transfer agreements, each based in a discipline or broad area of the baccalaureate curriculum.
In 1995 the General Assembly passed Act 137, which stipulated further that the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education "notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, shall have the following additional duties and functions with regard to the various public institutions of higher education." These duties and responsibilities include the commission's responsibility "to establish procedures for the transferability of course at the undergraduate level between two-year and four-year institutions or schools." This same provision is repeated in the legislation developed from the Report of the Joint Legislative Study Committee and was formed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor as Act 359 of 1996. Act 137 directs the commission to adopt procedures for the transfer of courses from all two-year public to all four-year public institutions of higher education in South Carolina. Proposed procedures are listed below. Unless otherwise stated, these procedures shall become effective immediately upon approval by the commission and were to be fully implemented, unless otherwise stated, by September 1, 1997.
State Articulation of 86 Courses
1. The Statewide Articulation Agreement of 86 courses already approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for transfer from two- to four-year public institutions will be applicable to all public institutions, including two-year institutions and institutions within the same system. In instances where an institution does not have synonymous courses to ones on this list, it shall identify comparable course or course categories for acceptance of general education courses on the statewide list.
Admissions Criteria, Course Grades, GPAs
2. All four-year public institutions shall issue annually in August a transfer guide covering at least the following items:
a. The definition of a transfer student and requirements for admission both to the institution and, if more selective, requirements for admission to particular programs.
b. Limitations placed by the institution or its programs for acceptance of standardized examinations (e.g., SAT, ACT) taken more than a given time ago, for academic course work taken elsewhere, for course work repeated due to failure, for course work taken at another institution while the student is academically suspended at his/her home institution, and so forth.
c. Institutional and, if more selective, programmatic maximums of course credits allowable in transfer.
d. Institutional procedures used to calculate student applicants' GPAs for transfer admission. Such procedures will describe how nonstandard grades (withdrawal, withdrawal failing, repeated course, etc.) are evaluated; thay shall also describe whether all course work taken prior to transfer or just course work deemed appropriate to the student's intended four-year program of study is calculated for purposes of admission to the institution and/or programmatic major.
e. Lists of all courses accepted from each technical college (including the 86 courses in the Statewide Articulation Agreement) and the course equivalencies (including "free elective" category) found on the home institution for the courses accepted.
f. Lists of all articulation agreements with any public South Carolina two-year or other institution of higher education, together with information about how interested parties can access these agreements.
g. List of the institution's transfer officer(s) personnel together with telephone and FAX numbers, office address and email address.
h. Institutional policies related to "academic bankruptcy" (i.e., removing an entire transcript or parts thereof from a failed or underachieving record after a period of years has passed) so that re-entry into the four-year institution with course credit earned in the interim elsewhere is done without regard to the student's earlier record.
i. "Residency requirements" for the minimum number of hours required to be earned at the institution for the degree.
3. Course work (individual course, transfer blocks, statewide agreements) covered within these procedures shall be transferable if the student has completed the course work with a "C" grade (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or above, but transfer of grades does not relieve the student of the obligation to meet any GPA requirements or other admissions requirements of the institution or program to which application has been made.
a. Any four-year institution which has institutional or programmatic admissions requirements for transfer students with cumulative grade point averages (GPAs) higher than 2.0 on a 4.0 scale shall apply such entrance requirements equally to transfer students from regionally-accredited South Carolina public institutions regardless of whether students are transferring from a four-year or two-year institution.
b. Any multi-campus institution or system shall certify by letter to the commission that all course work at all of its campuses applicable to a particular degree program of study is fully acceptable in transfer to meet degree requirements in the same degree program at any other of its campuses.
4. Any course work (individual course, transfer blocks, statewide agreements) covered within these procedures shall be transferable to any public institution without any additional fee and without any further encumbrance such as a "validation examination," "placement examination/instrument," "verification instrument," or any other stricture, notwithstanding any institutional or system policy, procedure, or regulation to the contrary.
Transfer Blocks, Statewide Agreements,
Completion of the AA/AS Degree
5. The following Transfer Blocks/Statewide Agreements taken at any two-year public institution in South Carolina shall be accepted in their totality toward meeting baccalaureate degree requirements at all four-year public institutions in relevant four-year degree programs, as follows:
- Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences: Established curriculum block of 46-48 semester hours;
- Business Administration: Established curriculum block of 46-51 semester hours;
- Engineering: Established curriculum block of 33 semester hours;
- Science and Mathematics: Established curriculum block of 51-53 semester hours;
- Teacher Education: Established curriculum block of 38-39 semester hours for Early Childhood, Elementary and Special Education students only. Secondary education majors and students seeking certification who are not majoring in teacher education should consult the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences or the Math and Science transfer blcoks, as relevant, to assure transferability of course work.
- Nursing: By statewide agreement, at least 60 semester hours shall be accepted by any public four-year institution toward the baccalaureate completion program (BSN) from graduates of any South Carolina public associate degree program in nursing (ADN), provided that the program is accredited by the National League of Nursing and that the graduate has succesfully passed the National Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and is a currently licensed registered nurse.
6. Any "unique" academic program not specifically or by extension covered by one of the statewide transfer blocks/agreements listed in #4 above shall either create its own transfer block of 35 or more credit hours with the approval of the CHE staff or shall adopt the Arts/Social Science/Humanities or the Science/Mathematics block. The institution at which such program is located shall inform the staff of the CHE and every institutional president and vice president for academic affairs about this decision.
7. Any student who has completed either an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree progam at any public two-year South Carolina institution which contains within it the total course work found in either the Arts/Social Sciences/Humanities Transfer Block or the Math/Science Transfer Block will automatically be entitled to junior-level status or its equivalent at whatever public senior institution to which the student might have been admitted. (Note: As agreed by the Committee on Academic Affairs, junior status applies only to campus activities such as priority order for registration for courses, residence hall assignments, parking, athletic event tickets, etc., and not in calculating academic degree credits.)
Related Reports and Statewide Documents
8. All applicable recommendations found in the commission's report to the General Assembly on the School-to-Work Act (approved by the commission and transmitted to the General Assembly on July 6, 1995) are hereby incorporated into the procedures for transfer of course work among two- and four-year institutions.
9. The policy paper entitled State Policy on Transfer and Articulation, as ammended to reflect changes in the numbers of transfer blocks and other commission action since July 6, 1995, is hereby adopted as the statewide policy for institutional good practice in the sending and receiving of all course credits to be transferred.
Assurance of Quality
10. All claims from public two- or four-year institution challenging the effective preparation of any other public institution's course work for transfer purposes will be evaluated and appropriate measures will be taken to reassure that the quality of the course work has been reviewed and approved on a timely basis by sending and receiving institutions alike. This process of formal review shall occur every four years through the staff of the Commission on Higher Education, beginning with the approval of these procedures.
State Publication and Distribution of Information on Transfer
11. The staff of the Commission on Higher Education will print and distribute copies of these procedures upon their acceptance by the commission. The staff shall also place this document and the appendices on the commission's home page on the Internet under the title "Transfer Policies."
12. By September 1 of each year, all public four-year institutions will place the following materials on their internet websites:
a. A copy of this entire document.
b. A copy of the institution's transfer guide.
13. By September 1 of each year, the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education will place the following materials on its Internet website:
a. A copy of this entire document.
b. Provide to the commission staff in format suitable for placing on the commission's website a list of all articulation agreements that each of the 16 technical colleges has with public and other four-year institutions of higher education, together with information about how interested parties can access those agreements.
14. Each two-year and four-year public institutional catalog shall contain a section entitled "TRANSFER: STATE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES." Such section at a minimum will:
a. Publish these procedures in their entirety (except appendices).
b. Designate a chief transfer officer at the institution who will provide information and other appropriate support for students considering transfer and recent transfers, serve as a clearinghouse for information on issues of transfer in the state of South Carolina, provide definitive institutional rulings on transfer questions for the institution's students under these procedures, and work closely with feeder institutions to assure ease in transfer for their students.
c. Designate other programmatic transfer officer(s) as the size of the institution and the variety of its programs might warrant.
d. Refer interested parties to the institutional Transfer Guide.
e. Refer interested parties to the institution's and the Commission on Higher Education's home pages on the Internet for futher information regarding transfer.
15. In recognition of its widespread acceptance and use throughout the United States, SPEEDE/EXPRESS should be adopted by all public institutions and systems as the standard for electronic transmission of all student transfer data.
16. In conjunction with the colleges and universities, develop and implement a statewide Transfer Equivalency Database at the earliest opportunity. (As an electronic counseling guide, this computerized, online instrument will allow students and advisors to access all degree requirements for every major at every public, four-year institution in South Carolina. Also, the database will allow students to obtain a better understanding of institutional programs and program requirements and select their transfer courses accordingly, especially when the student knows the institution and the major to which he/she is transferring.)