Transfer Policy: Assessment of Prior Learning

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Policy Statement:
Burlington College will consider credits in transfer from all coursework taken through a regionally-accredited institution when it can be shown that each course considered has been satisfactorily completed (with a grade of C or better from institutions that award grades for undergraduate degrees; a grade of B or better for graduate degrees), and that the course meets Burlington College’s academic criteria for content, format, and intensity. Grades attained at another institution are not transferable and are not used in computation of a Burlington College grade point average. (Note: For consideration of credits earned through institutions without regional accreditation, please see D. Non-Standard Post-Secondary Education.)

Reason for the Policy:
To set forth the criteria the College uses in determining acceptability of credits taken outside of Burlington College toward a Burlington College degree.

Policy Elaboration: Factors which determine the acceptability of transfer credit

A. Accreditation
United States The educational institution from which coursework is being considered for transfer credit must be accredited by a regional accrediting body.

International The foreign government or state governmental agency of a foreign country must formally recognize an educational institution as offering post-secondary school instruction leading toward a degree or diploma comparable to that offered at Burlington College. Credit will be considered for transfer if the education in a foreign country was sponsored by a regionally-accredited American college or university and, is governed by the American school’s accreditation. Credit will also be considered for transfer when Burlington College has been affiliated with an independent academic program through a formal inter-institutional agreement. Burlington College will consider accepting transfer credits from institutions outside the United States upon receipt of the credit recommendations from a credit evaluation service approved by the College. Burlington College accepts transcript translations from:

World Education Services
Bowling Green Station
PO Box 5087
New York, NY 10274-5087
212-966-6311
www.wes.org

Education Credential Evaluators, Inc
PO Box 514070
Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470, USA
414-289-3400
www.ece.org

American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) International Education Services
One Dupont Circle, NW
Suite 520
Washington, DC 20036-1135
202-296-3359


B. Determination of the level of accomplishment attained in each course
Undergraduate degrees: The level of achievement for any course must be equal or above a grade of C on an ‘A to F’ scale as determined by the sending institution for the course to be eligible to transfer. Grades of P (pass) or S (satisfactory) are acceptable with official documentation verifying that they represent successful completion of a specific course at a C or above. Credits from institutions that do not utilize one of these grading scales are reviewed individually. Whenever possible, the institution is asked to state that the quality of the coursework completed was at least equal to a C or better.

Graduate degrees: The institution sending the transcript must identify the studies as graduate level. To be accepted for transfer, graduate studies must have been graded B or above or otherwise be indicated as acceptable graduate level quality. Credits from institutions that do not utilize one of these grading scales are reviewed individually.

C. Meeting Burlington College’s criteria for content, format, and intensity
Credit is transferred on a course-by-course basis. Courses submitted to meet degree requirements will be considered on the basis of their comparability to corresponding Burlington College courses at the discretion of the academic advisor. Special care is taken in the case of sequential courses to ensure that no student is under-prepared because of varying academic content in a prerequisite course. There is no guarantee that all credits for transfer consideration will apply to a specific program. The registrar certifies potential transfer credits as acceptable for consideration; the academic advisor has the ultimate responsibility for supervising the degree program and makes the final determination of how potential transfer credits apply toward the student’s degree requirements at Burlington College.

When reviewing a course for content, a two-thirds yardstick is used. In most cases, if a course contains two-thirds of the material as a similar course offering at Burlington College, the courses will be judged to be comparable. Courses that must contain specific topics to prepare students for a particular function or for further study may be reviewed by the faculty of their discipline for comparability determination outside of the two-thirds guideline.

At the master’s degree level, credits for previous graduate study are reviewed by the program director for applicability to degree criteria and direct relevance to the chosen field of study. To transfer graduate credit, students must submit official copies of all relevant transcripts with petition explaining the ways in which the transfer credit advances them toward the program’s degree criteria and the achievement of the study plan. (See below, Procedures.)

D. Non-Standard Post-Secondary Education (Undergraduate level)

Credit by Examination
The following American and foreign standardized examinations which test post-secondary school knowledge are recognized for transfer credit consideration by Burlington College.

  • The College Level Examination of the College Board (CLEP)
  • The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)
  • The International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • The Advanced Placement Examination of the College Board (AP)
  • Excelsior College Examinations (formerly Regents College Examinations)

The nature and scope of material examined must be comparable to courses offered at Burlington College. Burlington College generally follows the American Council on Education’s (ACE) recommendations for determining minimum examination scores and the number of credits to be accepted. However, the College reserves the right to set a higher standard for some examinations in order to establish equivalency to Burlington College courses. Credit for examination can not be evaluated from a college or high school transcripts; an official score report issued directly from the examination program or organization or an official ACE Credit Recommendations transcript is required. In general, credits by examination are comparable to freshman/sophomore level credits numbered 100-299 at Burlington College.

2. College Coursework in High School
Burlington College will accept courses taken prior to high school graduation for transfer credit when all of the following stipulations are satisfied.

  1. The course(s) must be approved and monitored by an accredited college or university and be eligible for credit toward a degree program at that sponsoring college or university.
  2. The course must carry a grade of C or better and be similar in content, nature, and intensity to courses offered at Burlington College.
  3. The course must be presented on an official transcript issued by the sponsoring college or university.

Credit may also be obtained through CLEP and AP exams as described above.

3. Armed Services
Instruction received through the Armed Services is considered for credit in transfer based on the Learning Agreements provided by the various branches of the Services and the American Council on Education. Instruction which is comparable in content, nature, and intensity to undergraduate courses at Burlington College may be granted credit if it carries the American Council on Education’s credit recommendation. Credit award for any single course will not exceed the credit value of the comparable course at Burlington College. Credit transfer requires presentation of form DD Form 295 (Application for the Evaluation of Learning Experiences During Military Service) or DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), the AARTS (Army/ACE Registry Transcript System) transcripts, or SMART (Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript) transcripts. Military course numbers must appear on the service record.

4. Employer-Sponsored Instruction
Various companies, corporations and organizations which offer internal courses for their employees have had their curriculum reviewed by the American Council on Education for the purposes of recommending credits to degree granting colleges and universities. Burlington College will consider this type of course for credit under the following conditions:

  1. The course must be similar in content, nature, and intensity to courses offered by the discipline at Burlington College.
  2. The course must carry a grade comparable to at least a C or better.
  3. The course must carry a credit recommendation from the American Council on Education and the National Program on Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction (PONSI).
  4. The amount of transfer credit will not exceed the credit value for a comparable Burlington College offering.

5. Life Experience
Experiential learning may be vetted by the Vermont State College’s Office of External Programs through their Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) class or by two Burlington College academic staff members and the Dean through an In-House Portfolio.

APL is a three-credit, upper-level course offered each semester through the Vermont State College’s Office of External Programs (OEP). It helps students produce a portfolio documenting their request for academic credit for life and work experience. The portfolio is assessed by the OEP at the Vermont State Colleges. The student is responsible for requesting that an official transcript be sent to Burlington College when the portfolio is completed and evaluated.

Students requesting 12 or fewer credits for life or work experience may do an In-House Portfolio at Burlington College. An In-House Portfolio may only be submitted once. It may not be used to “salvage” academic credits denied by the Vermont State Office of External Programs, nor may it be used to fulfill the Burlington College residency requirement (See F. Prior Learning Credit Limits.)

Students considering either of these options should discuss alternatives with the Admissions Office and/or an academic advisor. Credits earned through assessment of prior learning are accepted as with transfer credits and do not impact enrollment status or completion ratio.

6. Credits Earned Through Institutions without Regional Accreditation
Semester credits earned at non-regionally accredited institutions may be considered for transferability during the admissions process. Official transcripts are required; however, students will likely need to submit additional documentation to support acceptance of the credits toward degree requirements. This may include, but is not limited to, course bulletins, catalogs, Learning Agreements, syllabi, contact hour determinations, and/or faculty credentials.

Credits that may be considered must be from an academically accredited, degree-granting institution. The institution must be accredited by an accrediting body that is recognized in both the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation databases. These include national institutional and specialized accrediting bodies, such as faith-based accrediting organizations, private career accrediting organizations, and specialized and professional accrediting organizations.

E. Coursework That Will Not Transfer Undergraduate Degrees:

  • Any coursework in which the grade earned is below a C.
  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
  • Courses identified as remedial, i.e., necessary to correct academic deficiencies, such as remedial English, mathematics, science and developmental reading. (Often numbered below 100-level.)
  • Students cannot receive credit for previous courses in which the content has been substantially duplicated. Nor may course credit be earned in subjects for which advanced placement has been granted. For example, credit can not be earned for two courses, even if one is more theoretical in approach than the other.
  • Vocational-technical courses are generally limited to electives; the maximum that may be applied toward an A.A. degree is 20 credits and toward a B.A. degree is 40 credits. When exceptions appear to be warranted, the academic advisor may petition ARC on the student’s behalf with recommendations regarding credit for such courses. Vocational-technical courses may be applicable toward Burlington College degree requirements if they meet Burlington College’s criteria for content, format, and intensity.
  • Credits earned at a graduate-level will be considered for acceptance on a limited basis. These credits must satisfy requirements within the major.
  • Acceptance of credits earned for physical education activities may not exceed three total semester hours.
  • No credit is accepted toward the Burlington College degree for studies pursued in other institutions concurrently with the student’s Burlington College semester unless cross-registered and approved by the academic advisor as part of the degree plan. See cross-registration policies.

 

Graduate Degrees:

  • Credits for undergraduate studies, or for graduate studies undertaken as part of an undergraduate program, will not be accepted for transfer toward a Burlington College master’s degree.
  • No credit is accepted toward the Burlington College degree for studies pursued in other institutions concurrently with the student’s Burlington College semester unless cross-registered and approved by the program director as part of the degree plan. See cross-registration policies.
  • No credit is accepted toward the Burlington College degree for studies completed in conjunction with a previously completed graduate degree.
  • Credits from a non-regionally accredited educational institution are not acceptable for transfer.

F. Prior Learning Credit Limits
All matriculated students must complete at least one-fourth of their undergraduate program, including advanced work in the major or concentration, at Burlington College (minimum 50% of certificate requirements and 25% of A.A. and B.A./B.F.A. degree requirements). The acceptance of transfer credit does not substantially diminish the proportion of intermediate and advanced coursework in a student’s academic program. At the master’s degree level, Burlington College may accept up to six semester hours of graduate credit in transfer. This includes courses undertaken through cross-registration while matriculated. All graduate degree seeking students must complete a minimum of 30 credits taken directly at Burlington College.

Credits awarded for prior learning and credits earned through cross-registered coursework, in-house portfolios, or non-BC-sponsored study abroad activities do not fulfill this requirement. Note that satisfactory completion of cross-registered and non-BC-sponsored study abroad activities is recorded on the Burlington College transcript and may be included in calculation of the student’s completion ratio and/or enrollment status; however, no supporting narrative material is included. Only the credit is transferred, not the grade. An official transcript from the awarding institution is necessary to certify the award of these credits.

BC-sponsored study abroad activities (activities offered by a BC-hired instructor as part of BC degree requirements) or activities offered as part of special affiliation agreements between Burlington College and other institutions may be used to meet this requirement.

  • MA Degrees: No more than six credits of prior learning may be applied toward a Burlington College Master of Arts degree.
  • B.A./B.F.A. Degrees: No more than 90 credits of prior learning may be applied toward a Burlington College Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Transfer students must take at least one-fourth of the coursework in their major at Burlington College. Requirements vary by major and baccalaureate degree (refer to degree requirements). For a major with 36 required intermediate- and upper-level credits, a minimum of nine upper-level credits, including the 6-credit degree project, must be satisfied at Burlington College. No more than 60 credits may be transferred from a two-year institution/community college toward a Burlington College Bachelor of Arts degree. A B.F.A. degree will require proportionately more credits earned in the major at Burlington College.
  • A.A. Degrees: No more than 45 credits of prior learning may be applied toward a Burlington College Associate of Arts degree. A minimum of 15 credits must be taken at Burlington College, including nine credits of entry- and intermediate-level core curriculum courses and three credits of Research and Reflection, plus any unfulfilled requirements. For A.A. degrees with concentrations (for example Film Studies), at least one fourth of the concentration requirements must also be completed at Burlington College.
  • Certificate Programs: Credits are accepted toward fulfillment of certificate requirements on a limited basis, subject to review by the program director. In addition to submission of an official transcript from a regionally accredited post-secondary institution with a minimum equivalency to a C letter grade, the student will likely be required to submit Learning Agreements, syllabi, or other documentation to verify that the coursework is comparable in content, nature, and intensity to courses offered at Burlington College. No more than 50% of certificate requirements may be fulfilled by transfer credits.

G. Guidelines for Application of Prior Learning Credits toward Burlington College General Education Requirements (Undergraduate level only)
In accepting transfer credit, Burlington College takes care to ensure that students have met stated learning outcomes of programs at all levels. The College’s transfer policies seek to balance the institution’s educational philosophy with students’ knowledge and their need to obtain a degree without redundant coursework.
Skills Competencies: All certificate- and degree-seeking transfer students take the writing assessment placement test; additionally, the computer placement assessment must also be taken, unless the competency requirement is satisfied through transfer credits. Math placement assessments must be taken by A.A. and B.A./B.F.A. degree-seeking students unless the competency requirement is satisfied through transfer credits or Burlington College coursework.

  • For students entering Burlington College with fewer than 30 transfer credits, all general education requirements apply fully.
  • Students entering with 30 or more transfer credits will need to complete 6 rather than 12 credits interdisciplinary credits; all of these must be upper-level. All other general education requirements apply fully.
  • Students entering with 75 or more transfer credits or who have received an associate’s degree from the Community College of Vermont may not need to complete GEN270 Research and Reflection if the academic advisor determines that they have fulfilled this general education goal through prior learning. All other general education requirements apply fully.
  • General Education outcomes assessment goals must be addressed fully by all A.A. and B.A./B.F.A. degree-seeking Burlington College students to satisfy degree requirements.

Procedures

Required Documentation for Transfer Credit Conversion
All course work presented for transfer must appear on an official transcript sent directly from the original teaching institution to Burlington College. Copies, facsimiles, or student carried transcripts will not be accepted. Credit for examination can not be evaluated from a college or high school transcript. An official score report issued directly from the examination program or organization or an official ACE Credit Recommendations transcript is required. Burlington College will consider accepting transfer credits from institutions outside the United States upon receipt of the credit recommendations from a recognized credit evaluation service, such as World Education Services, see above. Until an official transcript is received, no transfer credits will be recorded by the College.

Credit Conversion
Burlington College is on a semester system. All academic course work accepted for transfer will be converted into semester hours of credit by the Registrar’s Office. Quarter hours will be converted to semester hours using a 2/3 (.67) conversion factor, unless otherwise prescribed by the presenting institution. In all cases, the transcribing institution’s recommendation for semester credit conversion will be given serious consideration.
Process


Undergraduate Degrees:
Applicants may work with the Admissions Office to obtain a preliminary estimate of applicable transfer credits by an academic advisor appropriate to the individual’s area of expressed interest. This preliminary evaluation is non-binding. Final evaluation of transfer credits is completed when all official transcripts from a student’s previous institutions have been received. All transcripts must be received by the Admissions Office before the end of the first semester of enrollment. The inability to secure transcripts due to an outstanding balance at a previous school does not constitute an exception to the deadline. The deadline is in place to ensure proper academic advising.

Graduate Degrees:
At the graduate level, students must provide a petition with the official transcripts in which they explain the ways in which the transfer credit advances them toward the program’s degree criteria and achievement of their Study Plan. Students may be asked to supplement a transcript with syllabi or detailed Learning Agreements. The transfer petition and all transcripts must be submitted as part of the application process by the application deadline. The inability to secure transcripts due to an outstanding balance at a pervious school does not constitute an exception to the deadline. The deadline is in place to ensure proper academic advising.
All students who are admitted to the College as matriculated students are assigned an academic advisor.

Matriculated students and their advisors are jointly responsible for making sure that all degree requirements are met. Admitted students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor as soon as possible for initial degree planning. Only credits that are applicable to a matriculated student’s degree requirements are acceptable. The student’s assigned academic advisor will determine which courses fulfill Burlington College degree requirements and provide necessary internal transfer numbers on a degree spreadsheet to the Registrar’s Office. Transfer credits are recorded by the Registrar’s Office on the student’s BC transcript only upon receipt of the academic degree spreadsheet.

Students who stop-out/withdraw and earn credits while away will reapply and have a transfer credit analysis done during readmission process. Since graduation requirements at Burlington College vary from program to program, a reevaluation of transfer credit is required if a student changes majors after enrolling. At such time, the academic advisor will re-assess all prior learning toward meeting the requirements of the newly declared degree, and submit any necessary changes to accepted prior learning credits on a revised degree spreadsheet.

Transferability of Burlington College Credits
Many institutions accept Burlington College credits. However, as is common practice, credits earned at Burlington College are transferable at the discretion of the receiving school.

In professions in which some graduate students seek a certificate or license based on graduate coursework, certain specific content requirements for graduate study may exist, varying state-by-state. Ascertaining these requirements is the responsibility of the student. Burlington College does not currently offer licensure programs.
A transfer student’s Burlington College transcript indicates the institution and the number of course credits earned there. It does not list the grades earned at the transfer student’s previous college or university. A transfer student who needs a record of studies completed before admission to Burlington College must secure a transcript from the previous institution.

Appeals and Questions
Questions related to the daily operational interpretation of this policy should be addressed to:

Registrar’s Office
351 North Ave.
Burlington, VT 05401
Phone: 802/862-9616; Fax: 802/660-4331

A formal appeal of a credit transfer decision should be petitioned to the Academic Review Committee through the academic advisor. A written response will be delivered to the student in a timely manner once ARC has reviewed the course materials, past practices, and the student’s specific circumstances.