Policy

Original Issuance Date:               April 2001

Last Revision Date:     December 22, 2023

1. Policy Purpose

This policy establishes procedures and guidelines for UW System universities to facilitate the overall transfer process for all students.

2. Responsible UW System Officers

Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs

Associate Vice President for Enrollment & Student Success

3. Scope

This policy applies to all UW universities’ transfer students.

4. Background

The University of Wisconsin System (UW System) welcomes transfer students from accredited colleges and universities both within and outside Wisconsin. The UW System Undergraduate Transfer Policy endorses a student-centered transfer process which fosters educational attainment, accommodates student mobility, and provides equitable treatment of transfer and continuing students. At the same time, this transfer policy recognizes legitimate differences among educational institutions, their missions and academic programs, and acknowledges institutional autonomy and program integrity. In order to maintain our commitment to transfer students, this policy should be reviewed periodically and updated as needed.

5. Definition

Terms included in this policy are defined for purposes of this policy and may not be consistent with definitions used in other settings.

72-Credit Transfer Rule: Wisconsin Statutes § 36.31(2m) was revised on November 21, 2019 , requiring the UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) to “implement an agreement that identifies core general education courses totaling not fewer than 72 credits” that are “transferable and would satisfy general education requirements at the receiving institution or college, between and within each institution, college campus and technical college.”

Academic Program: A specifically designed curriculum leading to the attainment of a degree, area of specialization, or certificate.

Accreditation: A process of external quality review created and used by higher education to scrutinize colleges, universities and programs for quality assurance and quality improvement.

University Accreditation: The review and certification of an university by a regional or national accrediting body.

Programmatic Accreditation: The review of a specific program (e.g., art, music), profession (e.g., engineering, nursing), or freestanding school (e.g., law, medicine) by a professional organization that accredits programs in a particular field.

Applied Associate Degree: A degree awarded by WTCS and other technical institutions upon completion of a program that combines general education and occupational/technical courses and requirements, designed to lead directly to employment in a specific field.

Articulation Agreement: An agreement that is generally between WTCS and UW universities allowing for transfer of credit, either as course-by-course and/or as a block of credits.  These agreements are usually program to program and designed to grant advanced standing in a specific major.

Attribute: A designation assigned to courses offered at an university. An attribute may designate a course as meeting a requirement, such as breadth, general education, or ethnic studies, may denote the level at which the course is offered, or may in some other way describe the characteristics of a course.

Baccalaureate institution: A four-year, bachelor degree granting university.

College/School/Graduation Requirements: See Requirements

Competency/Proficiency Requirements: See Requirements

Continuing Student: A student who maintains continuous enrollment at the same university, while working towards program/degree completion (as distinct from a transfer student.).

Course-by-course: The evaluation of transfer courses one-by-one rather than as part of a block of credits.

Credit by Examination: Credit awarded as the result of learning demonstrated through the successful completion of an external standardized exam (e.g., CLEP, AP, IB, etc.) or internal department exam.

Credit for Prior Learning: Credit awarded for college-level knowledge and skills acquired through extra- institutional settings.

Credits: Semester hour units (distinct from quarter or trimester).

Cultural Diversity Requirements: See Requirements

Degree Requirements: See Requirements

Department Exam: Exams developed by an academic department program that awards credit for prior learning through the assessment of learning outcomes associated with a particular course or academic program curriculum.

Ethnic Studies Requirement: See Requirements

General Education/Breadth Requirements: See Requirements

Institutional Accreditation: See Accreditation

Liberal Arts/Collegiate Transfer: A term defining the WTCS programs that offer an associate of arts or associate of science degree and/or prepare the student for transfer to a baccalaureate program (previously referred to as a WTCS College Parallel program).

Major: A field of specialization in undergraduate studies, with specific course requirements that may be fulfilled by transfer coursework.

Non-Baccalaureate Institution: Two year, associate degree or certificate granting universities.

Non-Resident Student: A student who does not meet the requirements for paying in-state tuition rates as defined by state statute.

Occupational/Technical Coursework: Courses associated with a program offered at a technical college or university where the program has a specific focus on job related topics.

Official Campus Document: Summaries, transcripts, degree audits, or other documents displaying transfer credit, either as an electronic or hard copy version.

Portfolio: An organized collection of materials developed by a learner that describes, records, and verifies learning achievements as well as personal goals.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA): A process to evaluate learner competencies acquired by a student through formal and non-formal learning experiences that occurred outside of the college classroom. Within the setting of an university of higher education, the assessment evaluates whether the demonstrated learning outcomes are comparable to those required as part of a college-level course or academic program.

Common formats of PLA may fall into the following categories:

  1. External assessment by exam– An external organization assesses prior learning through the administration of a standardized exam (e.g., AP, IB, Project Lead the Way, CLEP, Excelsior, or DSST).
  2. External assessment and credit recommendations– The primary example of such external credit recommendations are those completed by the American Council on Education (ACE) that assesses military and corporate training experiences.
  3. External assessment by portfolio assessment– The assessment of college-level learning that is conducted by an external organization such as the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning’s (CAEL) Learning Counts program.
  4. Internal assessment by exam or portfolio assessment– The assessment of college-level learning that took place external to the university that is assessed and credit awarded internally by the university.

Programmatic Accreditation: See Accreditation

Receiving University: The university to which the student is transferring.

Resident Student: A student who meets requirements for paying in-state tuition rates as defined by state statute.

Requirements:

  1. General Education/Breadth: A category of requirements within a degree program that seeks to instill in students a “breadth” or range of knowledge in several disciplines (e.g. humanities, natural sciences, social sciences). NOTE: The term “general education” can be used in a wide variety of ways and UW universities do not use the term identically.  It may be used very broadly to encompass several kinds of requirements, or narrowly to include only very specific requirements.
  2. College/School/Graduation: A set of requirements that may be university-wide and/or determined by a college/school or program for completion of a degree by students enrolled in that college/school.
  3. Competency/Proficiency: A category of requirements, within a program, that seeks to establish a minimum level of student proficiency in certain disciplines (e.g., English composition, speech, foreign language, math, quantitative reasoning).
  4. Cultural Diversity: Similar in nature to Ethnic Studies requirement, but may also include coursework covering other international or national immigrant groups.
  5. Degree: The combination of requirements necessary to be awarded a degree.
  6. Ethnic Studies: UW System graduation or general education requirement for coursework centered on African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian-American, or American Indian populations in the U.S.
  7. University-wide: Requirement(s) that must be completed by all undergraduate degree students enrolled at the university.

Reverse Transfer: The post-transfer recognition of college credits, earned at the receiving baccalaureate university, for which the sending associate degree granting university accepts in transfer and grants credit toward conferral of an associate degree, after a student transfers from an associate degree granting university to the baccalaureate granting university.

Sending University: The university from which the student is transferring.

Transfer Credit: Credit earned at one university accepted in transfer at another university.

Transfer Student: A designation given to a degree-seeking student who transfers credit from another university of higher education, other than credits earned solely during summer session or while enrolled in high school.

University-wide Requirements: See Requirements

Universal Undergraduate Credit Transfer Agreement (UCTA): The annually reviewed and renewed agreement between UW System and Wisconsin Technical Colleges System (WTCS) that describes the history, process and course sets to meet the requirements of the 72-Credit Transfer Rule (Wisconsin Statutes, § 36.31(2m)).

UW University Associate Degree: An associate of arts and science degree awarded by UW universities which meets the minimum requirements approved by the UW Board of Regents.

6. Policy Statement

A. Admission of Transfer Students

Transfer students will be evaluated for admission through a comprehensive, individualized review process. This process allows universities to admit students whose academic preparation, background and personal experience suggest that the student will succeed at the university, benefit from that educational experience, and contribute to the educational environment. This review process is similar to the practice for the admission of the freshmen to UW universities. (See Regent Policy 7-3, University of Wisconsin System Freshman Admissions Policy.)

I. Transfer applicants must demonstrate that they are prepared to do satisfactory academic work at the university to which they are applying, and that, as members of the campus community, they will benefit from and enrich the educational environment and enhance the quality of the university. Each applicant’s file will be given a comprehensive review. Academic information considered will include the student’s postsecondary academic records, and may also include high school records, standardized test scores, and/or other relevant academic information.

II. While academic factors are the most important consideration, other factors may also be considered. These factors include, but are not limited to, student experiences, work experience, leadership qualities, motivation, community service, special talents, status as a non-traditional or returning adult, status as a veteran of the U.S. military, and whether the applicant is socioeconomically disadvantaged.

III. Transfer students who do not qualify under the provisions above may appeal through the appropriate university appeal procedures. UW universities should publish appeal procedures in the catalog or another official university publication.

IV. Admission requirements into schools/colleges, academic programs or majors may exceed those for admission to the university. Such requirements for entry shall apply equally to continuing and transfer students.

V. Admission requirements for non-resident transfer students will be the same as those for other transfer students except that an university may adopt special requirements for international student applicants. (Note: for purposes of this policy, Minnesota students eligible for reciprocity are considered as residents.)

VI. Regent enrollment planning policy establishes limits on non-resident enrollment (see Regent Policy 7-3, University of Wisconsin System Freshman Admissions Policy). Each UW university may limit the admission of non-residents to ensure that the total non-resident undergraduate enrollment does not exceed the Regent limit.

1. If the number of qualified non-resident transfer students exceeds the ability of the university to accommodate them, or if the university needs to ensure that priority is granted to students transferring from UW universities are specified in section 6.A.VII below, the university shall determine the criteria for selection from among qualified applicants.

VII. For enrollment management purposes, the number of transfer students admitted may be controlled. In such cases, university policy will determine the criteria by which limitations of access shall be applied, but preference for admission of transfer students shall be given to students transferring from the UW branch campuses, and from other UW universities where the student’s desired major or program is not offered, subject to the limits of a university’s ’s enrollment target.

B. Transfer Credit Principles

The UW System endorses the Joint Statement on the Transfer and Award of Credit developed by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). This document sets forth a number of basic assumptions regarding the transfer of credit between universities, be they similar or dissimilar, as well as recommended best practices for developing university-specific policies and procedures.

 

Following the principles set forth in the Joint Statement, each UW university should award transfer credit based on the combination of the quality, comparability, and applicability of the sending university’s academic program.

I. Quality of the Academic Program. The legitimacy and quality of the sending university can be evaluated in part by its accreditation status. Both institutional and programmatic accreditation should be considered when assessing the potential for transfer credit.

1. Institutional Accreditation. Credit is generally awarded for college level coursework completed at university’s accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Foreign universities must be recognized by the Ministry of Education (or equivalent) in that country.

2. Programmatic Accreditation. If the sending university is accredited by a programmatic accrediting association recognized by CHEA, credit may be granted in the specialty of accreditation (e.g., art, music, etc.) if recommended by the appropriate academic department or equivalent.

3. Not Accredited. Credit earned in universities of higher education not accredited as outlined in I.1 or I.2. above, is generally not accepted for transfer. However, credit may be granted for postsecondary work from non-accredited universities by examination and/or upon departmental evaluation of course syllabi and other program information.

II. Comparability of the Academic Program. Credit is generally awarded when the sending university’s mission, type of education (occupational, liberal arts, professional), and level of degree (certificate, associate, baccalaureate, graduate) are comparable to that of the UW university.

III. Applicability of the Academic Program. Credit is generally awarded when the academic program, level of study, and course content are similar in nature and applicable to the academic program of the UW university.

C. Principles of Accommodation

This policy endorses a student-centered transfer process designed to foster educational attainment, meet the needs of transfer students, and provide equitable treatment of transfer and continuing students. To achieve these goals, UW universities are encouraged to apply the principles of accommodation detailed here.

I. For All Transfer Students

The following principles of accommodation apply to all students transferring into a UW university:

1. Universities should apply transfer credits to degree requirements where appropriate.

2. Universities should recognize general education/liberal arts requirements in terms of broad academic areas (social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, etc.) as well as specific courses.

3. Universities may award transfer credit for courses for which they do not have a comparable department or curricular area, or for which they do not have direct course equivalent. Where appropriate, these credits should apply toward satisfying general education and other degree requirements. When applying a course toward general education/breadth requirements, the receiving university generally applies it in the same category as similar courses at that university . However, if the course fulfills a different category at the sending university and the student requests that the original designation be applied, the request should be approved where appropriate.

4. In granting a direct equivalent to courses taken at other universities , the attributes of the equivalent course should apply. However, in determining whether to award upper level credit for courses completed by transfer students, universities may apply the same practice used for their own freshmen and sophomores.

5. UW universities should apply academic policies and procedures to continuing and transfer students in a similar manner.

6. Students may generally transfer up to 72 degree credits earned at non-baccalaureate institutions. UW universities may accept additional credits toward the degree where appropriate. This does not alter policies concerning credits to be earned in residence at an university.

7. UW universities should apply the same criteria for admission to a major or program, or for applying a course toward a degree, to both transfer students and continuing students.

8. Student course grades may be used as a factor to determine if, and how, transfer credit is applied, but the same principles should be applied to both transfer and continuing students.

9. If a student changes his/her academic major or program, all transfer credits may be reevaluated to determine if, and how, they apply to the new major or program.

10. All students will receive an evaluation of transfer credits. universities should make every effort to provide this evaluation prior to enrollment.

11. When a student transfers, the receiving university will do its own evaluation of the transfer work based on official transcript(s) from each university the student attended. The student is responsible for submitting official transcript(s) from each sending university to the receiving university for transfer evaluation.

12. Transfer credits that have been awarded should be evaluated to determine which will apply to major requirements, general education/breadth requirements, competency requirements, or the graduation requirements of the specific program the student intends to pursue. Credits which are not applicable to the requirements of the specific program should be noted on an official campus document.

13. UW universities should make every effort to provide admitted transfer students the opportunity to register with similar access to courses as continuing students.

14. Students should be informed in writing of the opportunity and procedures for appealing any course transfer determination.

II. For Students Transferring Within the UW System

The following additional principles of accommodation apply to students transferring within the UW System:

1. A course designated as fulfilling a general education/breadth requirement at one UW university should transfer as general education/breadth at the receiving UW university. This principle should apply whether or not the receiving university has a direct course equivalent.

2. A course designated as fulfilling an ethnic studies requirement at one UW university should apply toward the ethnic studies requirement at the receiving UW university.

3. UW universities should permit courses completed by UW System transfer students to transfer in accordance with the course equivalency in effect when the courses were taken.

4. UW universities that permit continuing students to graduate using the catalog requirements in effect at the time of their matriculation should employ the same policy for UW System transfers using their date of matriculation at their first UW university.

5. When a student transfers within the UW System, the record of all successfully completed undergraduate credit courses taken by the student at UW universities previously attended should be reported on the transcript or another official campus document.

6. University level courses offered through UW-Extension will transfer on the same basis as equivalent courses taken at UW universities.

7. Credit for prior learning that is internally assessed and transcribed as a course equivalent by one UW university will be evaluated for transfer by the receiving UW university on the same basis as courses taken at UW universities.

8. Reverse transfer is intended for students who transfer from one associate degree granting UW university to another UW System institution without completing the associate’s degree. The reverse transfer of credit is intended to add accumulated credits for the awarding of an associate’s degree at the sending UW university.

a. UW Colleges may enter into cooperating agreements for reverse transfer with other UW universities. Participating universities will maintain the integrity of their separate requirements and enter into an agreement as cooperating universities that includes processes for student consent and sharing student academic information.

i. Students must have earned at least 36 credits at UW Colleges.

ii. Advising to complete the associate’s degree will be done by UW Colleges.

iii. The associate’s degree will be awarded by UW Colleges.

b. UW comprehensive universities with the authority to grant associate’s degree may enter into cooperating agreements for reverse transfer with other UW universities. Participating universities will maintain the integrity of their separate requirements and enter into an agreement as cooperating universities that includes processes for student consent and sharing student academic information.

 

III. For Students Transferring with a UW University Associate Degree

For purposes of facilitating transfer between UW universities, Associate Degrees awarded by UW universities should include the minimum general education/breadth requirements defined by UW System policy. In recognition of these common requirements, the following principles apply:

1. UW baccalaureate-granting universities shall consider transfer students holding such an Associate Degree to have satisfied the university-wide general education/breadth requirements of the receiving university.

2. Colleges and schools may require transfer students to complete additional general education/breadth requirements beyond the university-wide total if also required of continuing students.

3. The following may not necessarily be satisfied by the Associate Degree:

a. Competency requirements or levels of proficiency (e.g., English composition, speech, foreign language, math, quantitative reasoning) established by the receiving university for continuing students.

b. Upper division general education courses normally required of continuing junior and senior students.

c. General education courses that are prerequisites to a particular program or major and are required of continuing students (e.g., micro and macro economics for business majors).

d. Requirements mandated by external professional accrediting associations or program approving agencies (e.g., Department of Public Instruction, Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business).

4. Students who transfer with an Associate Degree awarded by a UW university which includes an ethnic studies (cultural diversity) component will be considered to have satisfied the ethnic studies requirement at any other UW university. Transfer credits will be evaluated by the receiving university on a course-by-course basis to determine if and whether credits will apply beyond the satisfaction of general education breadth requirements.

5. Transfer credits will be evaluated by the receiving university on a course-by-course basis to determine if and whether credits will apply beyond the satisfaction of general education breadth requirements.

6. UW System Guaranteed Transfer Admission Program (formerly UW Colleges Guaranteed Transfer Program)

a. Students that are admitted as a new freshman to the Associate of Arts and Sciences (AAS) degree program at a UW branch campus receive “guaranteed” admission to any UW System 4-year university as a junior by participating in the UW System Guaranteed Transfer Admission Program. After fulfilling certain credit and grade point average requirements, students transfer with the same rights and privileges as those who begin their education at the 4-year universities.

b. Requirements:

1. Student must be admitted as a new freshman in the Associate of Arts and Sciences (AAS) degree program at a UW branch campus.

2. Student must submit a Declaration of Intent to Participate form to their home branch campus at any time prior to the start of their sophomore year (30 credits) in the AAS degree program.

3. Student must complete the number of credits required for junior status at their destination 4-year university with a minimum grade point average of 2.0; or 3.2 for UW-Madison.

4. Students have three academic years from the time of enrolling in the associate degree program in which to complete the minimum credits required. The 4-year university may make exceptions to the required number of credits for those majors/programs for which early transfer is recommended.

5. Transfer G.P.A.s are calculated using the formula/method of the 4-year campus.

6. Students must apply to the intended UW 4-year university and must meet the same criteria (e.g., GPA, course requirements, etc.) for admission to specific majors/programs as continuing students. The Guaranteed Transfer Admission Program guarantees admission to the 4-year university only and not to the specific program or major.

IV. For Students Transferring From the Wisconsin Technical College System

Credit transfer between the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and the UW System is based upon the following principles:

1. Students transferring from the WTCS accredited liberal arts/collegiate transfer programs, to UW baccalaureate-granting universities may generally transfer up to 72 credits earned at non-baccalaureate universities. UW universities may accept additional credits toward the degree where appropriate.  This does not alter policies concerning credits to be earned in residence at an university.

2. In cases where WTCS liberal arts/collegiate transfer programs award associate of arts/associate of science degrees that specifically align with the associate degrees awarded by UW universities, the UW baccalaureate-granting universities shall consider students holding such a degree to have satisfied the university-wide general education/breadth requirements at the receiving university.

3. Colleges and schools may require transfer students to complete additional general education/breadth requirements beyond the university-wide total if also required of continuing students.

4. The following may not necessarily be satisfied by the WTCS associate of arts/associate of science (liberal arts) degrees:

a. Competency requirements or levels of proficiency (e.g., English composition, speech, foreign language, math, quantitative reasoning) established by the receiving university for continuing students.

b. Upper division general education courses normally required of continuing junior and senior students.

c. General education courses that are prerequisites integral to a particular program or major and are required of continuing students (e.g., micro and macro-economics for business majors).

d. Requirements mandated by external professional accrediting associations or program approving agencies (e.g., Department of Public Instruction, Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).

e. Ethnic studies/cultural diversity requirements.

5. UW universities may grant transfer credit for general education (i.e., in communications, behavioral sciences, social sciences, mathematics, and natural science) offered within a WTCS applied associate degree program.  In determining transferability of these courses, each UW university will take into account the quality and comparability of the coursework and its applicability to degree requirements.

6. UW universities may grant transfer credit on a course-by-course basis, for occupational and technical coursework leading to an applied associate degree from WTCS programs. In determining transferability of these courses, each UW university will take into account the quality and comparability of the coursework and its applicability to degree requirements.

7. UW universities should permit courses completed by WTCS transfer students to transfer in accordance with the course equivalency in effect when the courses were taken.

8. UW universities should work with WTCS districts to identify areas where programs leading to an applied associate degree have direct relationships with baccalaureate degree programs.  Where program relationships are found to exist, transfer articulation agreements, are encouraged.  All such credit transfer and articulation agreements should conform to the .

9. If an articulation agreement is in place, students in certain WTCS applied associate degree programs that subsequently enroll in a related UW baccalaureate degree program may be able to transfer related occupational and technical credits that may not transfer on a course-by-course basis.  These credits may transfer to other programs at that university or to other UW universities only if a similar credit transfer or articulation agreement exists.

10. Reverse transfer is intended for students who transfer from a WTCS Liberal Arts program to a UW university without completing the associate’s degree.  The reverse transfer of credit is intended to add accumulated credits for the awarding of an associate’s degree by the WTCS university.  Participating universities will maintain the integrity and authority of their separate requirements.  Participating universities will enter into an agreement that includes processes for student consent and sharing student academic information.

V. For Students Transferring between Wisconsin universities participating in Universal Credit Transfer Agreement (UCTA)

The Universal Undergraduate Credit Transfer Agreement (UCTA) between the University of Wisconsin System and  Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) satisfies the requirement expressed in the 72-credit transfer rule (Wisconsin Statutes § 36.31(2m)). UW universities will collaborate to review and maintain the agreement and meet the statutory requirement. The agreement is posted on the Universal Credit Transfer Agreement (UCTA) page.

D. Credit for Prior Learning

I. As with the assessment of classroom learning, the objective of prior learning assessment is to identify student competency related to a specific set of learning outcomes. To support that objective, the faculty-based Prior Learning Assessment Academic Planning and Policy Task Force (2011) developed a number of principles that universities should use to guide development of quality prior learning assessment practices. These principles are outlined in Appendix A.

II. Each UW university should provide transfer students the same opportunities as continuing students to demonstrate their competence through the use of internally and/or externally developed tests, ACE credit recommendations for military and non-military training, portfolio assessment procedures and/or other competency-based alternatives.

III. UW universities may grant credit for educational accomplishment attained in extra- institutional settings (e.g., military, professional development, work-place training, etc.) on the basis of an internally developed assessment such as department exams and portfolio review; internal review of recommendations from organizations such as ACE’s Center for Adult Learning and Educational Credentials or the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) through the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS);  or externally assessed standardized exams such as Advanced Placement (AP) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP).  All credits awarded by the university based on extra-institutional accomplishment must be clearly indicated on the student transcript.

IV. Notwithstanding UW System Administrative Policy 138, Award of Credit by Prior Learning Assessment, each university will retain the prerogative to establish proficiency score levels, courses for which credit by examination is deemed appropriate, limitations of credit allowed, policies regarding testing fees, and other related policies that are consistent with the characteristics, ability and achievement of the particular student body at the university.

V. Transfer of Credit for Prior Learning

1. Undergraduate credit for prior learning that is internally reviewed, assessed, and transcribed as a course equivalent by one UW university will be evaluated for transfer credit by all UW universities in accordance with the Transfer Credit Principles found in Section III and the Principles of Accommodation found in Section IV of this policy.

a. The receiving university will determine the course equivalent credits they will grant to the student and how the credit will apply to the degree, guided by existing institutional policies.

b. UW universities will advise students that the receiving university will review credits transferred and determine how the credit will apply to the degree.

2. Students who are awarded credit on the basis of external standardized assessment should be informed that in the event of transfer, they should expect the receiving university to reevaluate the original exam score transcript.  The receiving university will determine if, and how, such credit will be applied to the degree in accordance with applicable institutional and UW System policy.

VI. Transcription of Credit for Prior Learning

1. Internal Assessment and Reviews
When a UW System university grants credit for prior learning on an internal assessment conducted by their faculty or instructional staff, the university will:

a. Record the credit awarded as a course equivalent, except in instances when the competencies assessed and credit awarded cannot be linked to a specific course equivalency.  In such instances, UW universities may determine how the credits awarded will be articulated on the transcript.

b. Utilize a recognizable transcription category that will serve to identify credits awarded for an internal prior learning assessment by portfolio review, department exam, or review of ACE credit recommendations for military and non-military training.

c. List credit awarded by internal prior learning assessment at the top of the transcript.

d. Establish methodologies to collect aggregate and student-level data that will aid institutional and System-wide prior learning assessment evaluation efforts.

2. External Standardized Examinations
When an UW System institution grants credit for prior learning based on an external standardized exam (e.g., AP, CLEP, etc.), the credit should be indicated on the student transcript and the equivalencies clearly articulated. (See SYS 138, Award of Credit by Prior Learning Assessment.)

E. Institutional Responsibilities Regarding Transfer Information

I. The Transfer Information System (TIS) is a source for official UW System institutional undergraduate course and program information. Institutions will provide information and data necessary to keep TIS current and accurate.

II. UW universities should provide timely information to UW System. Administration about all new programs and curricular changes.  The institution initiating curricular action should consider the effects of program development or modification on potential transfer students.

III. UW university transfer information should be explicitly stated on the institution’s website and in other appropriate sources.  Changes in admission and/or program requirements should be announced and well publicized prior to implementation.

IV. Copies of new and updated transfer articulation agreements should be sent to the UW System Office of Academic and Student Affairs.

V. The UW System Office of Academic and Student Affairs will coordinate system-wide transfer policy and procedures.  Questions about interpretation of transfer policy and procedures should be referred to that office.

VI. UW universities will work with UW System Administration annually to maintain the Universal Credit Transfer Agreement (UCTA) and transfer equivalency data maintained in TIS.

7. Related Documents

Appendix A: Principles and Guidelines for Quality Prior Learning Assessment

Board of Regents Policy Document 4-16, Criteria for Approval of Wisconsin Technical College System Liberal Art and Pre-Professional Transfer Programs
 Board of Regents Policy Document 7-1, Transfer and Award of Credit for Extra-Institutional Learning
Board of Regents Policy Document 7-3, University of Wisconsin System Freshman Admissions Policy

UW System Administrative Policy 138, Award of Credit by Prior Learning Assessment

UW System Administrative Policy 140, UW System Templates for Articulation Agreements Between UW System Institutions and WTCS Districts
Wisconsin Statutes § 36.11(3b3c3cm)
Wisconsin Statutes § 36.31(2m)
Universal Credit Transfer Agreement
Higher Learning Commission FDCR.A.10.040

Historical Documents:

UW System Planning the Future (12-1986)
Undergraduate Transfer Policy Memorandum (12-1982)
ACIS 6.1 (4-2001)
UWS Transfer Working Group Final Report (6-1995)
UWS General Education Transfer Working Group Final Report (9-1997)
Statement of Principles on Student Transfer from WTCS to UWS (4-7-2000)
Board of Regents Resolution # 8107 (4-7-2000)
Board of Regents Resolution # 8759 (11-7-2003)
Board of Regents Resolution # 8775 (12-5-2003
Board of Regent Resolution #9927 (6-2011)
Board of Regents Resolution #10383 (6-2014)

8. Policy History

Revision 5: December 22, 2023

Revision 4: March 1, 2019

Revision 3: December 17, 2018

Revision 2: June 1, 2015

Revision 1: June 9, 2011

First Approved: April 2001

  1.      Scheduled Review

 

December 2028