Editorial: New transfer credit policy does more to improve image than education
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 22:10
UConn's administration is in preliminary talks to reduce the number of credits incoming freshmen can transfer from 90 to 30. This came about as an effort to “enhance the value of a UConn degree,” according to the press release and, as always, compete with other schools.
The plan would only limit transfer credits for freshmen, leaving AP and Early College Experience credits unaffected. Very few students even come near the current transfer credit limit, with the average of transfer credits being eight.
While this plan may sound relatively harmless, it could have major consequences for incoming students. Limiting the number of transfer credits allowed makes UConn less desirable for certain students. The school is trying to make itself both more selective and more diverse- this plan hurts both of those goals.
First, limiting transfer credits discourages students from applying to UConn. The school is preventing students who have had unique educational careers, or students who simply can’t afford to re-earn that number of credits from coming here. Over 70 freshman per year transfer to UConn with more than 30 credits. It is great that UConn is making the effort to better itself, but the improvements should benefit students and the state, not just the image the school.
Furthermore, most credits freshman transfer are from general education classes, usually equivalent in content and quality – if not better – than their UConn counterparts. A small high school AP Biology class, while not technically a college course, is far more conducive to learning than a 400-person lecture. Getting general education requirements out of the way before college also allows students to devote more time to their major.
The administration defends the reduction in credit allowance by saying that a UConn degree should mean the vast majority of credits are taken at UConn. Forcing students to take all of their credits here guarantees their education is up to UConn standards, thus adding value to a UConn degree.
Making the school more serious is good, but this is not the way to go about it. There are many other ways of making a UConn degree better – such as making academics at UConn more rigorous. Adding restrictions and regulations won’t make a UConn degree more prestigious. Instead, it will add yet another layer of bureaucracy to an already complicated system and make it harder for students, even deserving ones, to earn their degree. Enhancing the value of a UConn degree should be the responsibility of the school, not the students’ burden to bear.