How well do college credits earned in high school transfer to a postsecondary institution and apply to a student’s degree? The Early College Research Center at SERVE, which is part of UNC Greensboro, received a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education/Institute of Education Sciences to find out.
“More and more students are given the opportunity to earn college credits in high school,” said Dr. Julie Edmunds, Director of the Early College Research Center and principal investigator for the project. “However, the advantages of these courses depend on the extent to which the credits successfully transfer and can be applied to students’ postsecondary degree plans. Our study hopes to describe how well the credit transfer process is working and identify areas for improvement, thereby maximizing the benefits for students.”
The project examines college-level credits earned in North Carolina high schools through both dual enrollment (NC’s Career and College Promise program) and through Advanced Placement exams. The statewide study will also look at the extent to which these credits successfully transferred to a postsecondary institution and were applied to students’ majors or programs of study. The study will look at the association between successful credit transfer and the following education outcomes: enrolling in upper-level courses, enrolling in multiple majors/minors, attaining a postsecondary degree, time to degree, and amount of student loan debt. The study team will also collect data about students’ experiences in transfer with the goal of creating a college credit transfer toolkit that can be used by high school counselors and college advisors.
Dr. Edmunds is leading a team that includes partners at the RAND Corporation and at the N.C. State University’s Belk Center for Community College Leadership. The study, which is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education, is anticipated to conclude in 2027.
Story by University Communications