Success from the session: Three key bills boost post-secondary education
We believe that access to post-secondary education is a critical component in the Cycle of Opportunity. Advanced education is increasingly necessary for earning family-sustaining wages, and the benefits of greater access extend well beyond students and their families. Helping more students complete post-secondary studies will lead to a more highly qualified and educated workforce, which is the foundation for our state's economic strength and competitiveness.
That's why we're pleased to report that the governor has now signed three bills that will make this process easier. All three bills, strongly supported by the Bell, will help post-secondary students transfer from one institution to another, and therefore increase the likelihood of degree completion. Here's a brief summary of the three bills:
HB 1208 will lead to statewide transfer agreements among all of Colorado's public colleges and universities in key subject-matter areas. The agreements will increase student success by providing curricular "roadmaps" that students can follow regardless of where they live, where they first enroll or where they elect to complete their studies without experiencing lost credits, repeated coursework or additional time to degree completion.
SB 108 sets a timeframe for implementing the process by which post-secondary students may test out of core courses without having to pay tuition for them, and opens the state's guaranteed course-transfer program to qualified core courses offered at certain non-public institutions. Many students – including many minority, low-income, adult and concurrently-enrolled high school students – begin their studies at non-public institutions. By guaranteeing that qualified credits will transfer, more students will complete their degrees in a timely and cost-effective manner.
SB 88 allows two-year colleges to offer programs with a specific degree designation (similar to a major) in fields of study for which there are valid student transfer agreements. The ability to earn such degrees will increase retention and completion for students who have a particular academic interest or career aspiration, ease transfers from a two-year to a four-year institution, and serve as added support for students who wish to move directly into the workforce.