This version of our newly renamed “Student Mobility and Credit Transfer Pathways” paper reflects OUSA’s desire for a flexible, efficient postsecondary education system that provides students with the options they need succeed in higher learning.
Student mobility, the extent to which a student can move between programs and schools, is a critical aspect of our postsecondary landscape. When mobility is low – that is, when students are forced to duplicate prior learning, or when credit transfer requirements are murky – it introduces extra costs to students and taxpayers alike. Provincial funding into universities is partially based on courses taken. When courses are being taken unnecessarily and redundantly, it drains provincial coffers for no real value. Students pay the price as well, spending time and money to repeat learning and earn credits that, in many cases, they have already earned.
On the other hand, when the system is mobile and infrastructure exists to recognize learning across institutions, quality improves for students. They become free to pursue the best learning options regarding where they live and what their goals are without having to worry about unnecessary expenses. This applies to college students entering university and to university students switching between institutions.
A number of hurdles exist, however, and with OUSA’s paper, we advocate for transparency, consistency, and support to uphold students’ interests and ensure best practices.
Many of our additions to this iteration of the paper surround appeals and clarity. We advocate for a robust system of appeals that guarantees that any denied credit transfers can be escalated to an external reviewer, and that in all cases, detailed reasons for denials will be provided to the student. Moreover, we seek to clarify and standardize the language used across institutions’ credit transfer offices, so that requirements and regulations can be reasonably understood before a student engages in the transfer process.
Additionally, we take a closer look at the fees and financial costs associated with credit transfer and prior learning recognition. It is our firm belief that many of these costs fall under the purview of the ancillary fee protocol, and as a result, should be provided at no cost to students.
Credit transfer has been identified as a priority by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and by the universities themselves. Bodies such as the Ontario Council of Articulation and Transfer exist to facilitate these efforts, and several schools have established cooperative pathway and credit recognition agreements. Nonetheless, Ontario struggles to introduce a mobility regime into a system that was never designed with pathways in mind. The result is that many aspects of credit transfer in Ontario remain unclear and unstandardized. OUSA offers a number of suggestions in our paper that we believe would improve Ontario’s mobility infrastructure and processes.
To read the policy paper in full, visit our Research Centre: http://www.ousa.ca/research-centre/