Press Releases | Student Access

Secretary of Education Tackles Credit Transfers

Duncan responds to ACTA's call to remove obstacles to student success
May 6, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC—In response to ACTA’s request that he address the problem of restrictive credit transfer policies—and the toll they take on college students—Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has launched a study of the subject.

In a letter sent to ACTA president Anne D. Neal, Secretary Duncan expressed his shared concern at the “financial and human costs associated with restrictive college credit transfer policies” and his “interest in learning more about the extent of the problem and identifying conditions and interventions that advance student success.”

To do so, he has commissioned a study by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Office of Postsecondary Education, the results of which are to be released within a year.

“We would like to thank Secretary Duncan for taking this important step,” said ACTA president Anne D. Neal. “Restrictive credit transfer policies between institutions are one of the dirty little secrets of American higher education that significantly contribute to low graduation rates.”

The national six-year graduation rate is less than 60 percent. While there are many reasons, evidence suggests that problems in transferring credits between institutions may be a significant underlying cause.

In March, ACTA President Anne D. Neal and other higher ed experts wrote to Secretary Duncan calling on him to address this problem so as to ensure a seamless transfer process for students. The other signatories were Kevin Carey, Policy Director at Education Sector; Frederick M. Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute; Mark Schneider, Vice President at the American Institutes for Research; and Richard Vedder, Director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is an independent non-profit dedicated to academic freedom, academic quality and accountability. Since its founding in 1995, ACTA has counseled boards, educated the public and published reports about such issues as good governance, historical literacy, core curricula, the free exchange of ideas and accreditation in higher education.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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