Portland State University (PSU) President Wim Wiewel and Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) President Debra Derr signed an agreement today that may qualify students for an associate degree from MHCC after they transfer to PSU.
The so-called reverse transfer agreement combines credit hours from both institutions. To qualify, students must be co-admitted at both schools and have earned at least 90 credits, with a minimum of 24 of those from MHCC. An estimated 100 students may now be eligible for an associate degree through this program.
“This reverse transfer agreement is a win for everyone involved,” said Wiewel. “Students benefit because it makes it easier to get an associate degree. The college and University benefit because it facilitates our mission of helping students succeed. And it helps the state reach its goal of having 80 percent of our young adults attain a post-secondary degree.”
MHCC is the second community college with which PSU has a reverse transfer agreement. It signed a similar agreement last year with Portland Community College.
Studies show that students at four-year schools who complete an associate degree at a community college tend to earn a bachelor’s degree at a higher rate than students who do not complete an associate degree at a community college.
“It may have to do with momentum and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” said John Hamblin, MHCC director of enrollment management, admissions, registration and records. “Once students have a diploma for an associate degree in hand, and they see the rewards of all their hard work, it gives them a boost to continue their education and earn a bachelor’s degree.”
Hamblin adds that with the tough job market, reverse transfer can give an extra edge to recent graduates. Having both an associate and a bachelor’s degree on a resume reflects a broader, more accurate view of a graduate’s skills and training received over time.
The signing at the MHCC campus in Gresham was coupled with a renewal of a co-admission agreement PSU has had with MHCC for a number of years. Co-admission creates a seamless pathway for students who start at MHCC and plan to finish their bachelor’s degree at PSU. Co-admitted students complete one application and enjoy access to services and facilities at both schools. Financial aid and scholarship opportunities also are coordinated between the two schools.
In addition to MHCC, Portland State has co-admission agreements with Portland, Chemeketa, Clackamas, Clark, Clatsop, Oregon Coast, Columbia Gorge, and Tillamook Bay community colleges.