Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance releases policy paper: “Student Mobility and Credit Transfer"

March 29, 2018

Toronto, ON -  A policy paper released by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) this morning, focuses on simplifying the credit transfer process and supporting transfer students in Ontario. The paper was written, approved, and published by students with the purpose of providing recommendations for improved system design, consistency, transparency, and predictability within Ontario’s transfer system.

"As a student that has transferred between two Ontario institutions, I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to contribute my thoughts and experiences in this policy paper,” said Kathryn Kettle, student at Laurentian University. “My hope is that this paper will improve student mobility and ease the transfer process for students.”

Concerns presented in the paper include: a lack of data collection and research available on student mobility and transfer experience, the impact of differentiation policies on transfer opportunities, and the availability of financial aid to help facilitate mobility and transfer, including the costs associated with transfer processes, particularly for low-income students and students living in remote and rural areas. Furthermore, this paper outlines concerns over insufficient oversight and guidance from provincial bodies, a lack of common standards across post-secondary institutions, as well as inadequate resources and supports for students, especially for those seeking to appeal transfer decisions, for college-to-university transfer students, students in non-English based courses and programs, and for other lifelong learners seeking to enter Ontario’s post-secondary system for the first time.

Overarching recommendations in the paper included the following: improving and expanding data collection on transfer students by utilizing OEN tracking, and in turn, strengthening the capacity of ONCAT to pursue further research and provide institutional guidance. Promoting the development and use of a common language and learning outcomes in transfer policies and processes through provincial leadership, including the expansion of frameworks for transfer policies, articulation agreements, transfer appeals, and support services. This includes continued support for HEQCO in developing common standards that can improve transfer opportunities, particularly for students seeking to transfer between non-specialized, direct entry courses. Reducing the distance requirement in the OSAP Distance Grant from 80 km to 40 km in order to expand student financial support and opportunity. Improving transparency, consistency, and predictability by ensuring students are provided with transfer credit assessments prior to acceptance deadlines and prior to OSAP application deadlines. Furthermore, recommendations were made to expand joint college and university programs, to reduce and standardize PLAR and supplementary fees, as well as to build up available online resources, primarily, Ontario’s student transfer guide website.

“The mobility and transfer credit paper discusses some unique experiences and issues students face when they decide to transfer institutions,” said Chandra Narra, student at Trent University Durham and OUSA board member. “What students are asking for is more direction from the provincial government and its agencies, as well as improved clarity, transparency and predictability within the transfer process.”

This paper was written by students from OUSA member associations and presented to the OUSA Spring General Assembly on March 11th for approval. To read the paper, please click here.

OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations a cross Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario. To achieve this vision we’ve come together to develop solutions to challenges facing higher education, build broad consensus for our policy options, and lobby government to implement them.

Deborah Lam                                                         
Operations & Communications Director
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
[email protected]