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South Carolina joins national pilot with Ithaka S+R to streamline college transfer

Tue, 02/27/2024

South Carolina is one of the first three states in the country to partner with the national nonprofit Ithaka S+R to pilot a platform designed to streamline the college transfer process by providing current and clear information to students and those who support them.  

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education announced today that the state will join Connecticut and Washington in the two-year “Transfer Explorer” pilot: five public institutions across the state will be part of the initial cohort for the first two years of the Transfer Explorer platform’s implementation and refinement.

“Research from the National Student Clearinghouse has shown that over one-third of first-time students transfer at least once during their academic journey, but often lose earned college credit when entering a new institution,” said Martin Kurzweil, Vice President for Educational Transformation at Ithaka S+R. “Part of this credit loss can be attributed to lack of information about which credits will be accepted and how they will apply to degree programs. Without this vital information, students may be unable to make informed decisions about their education, resulting in potentially longer times to degree completion and additional costs.”

“The CHE and institutions across South Carolina understand the increasing prevalence of transfer in the lives of college students across every sector, and we recognize the need to evolve our transfer tools, technology, and services to serve this critical student demographic,” said Bunnie Ward, director of the CHE Office of Strategic Initiatives and Engagement. “We look forward to partnering with Ithaka S+R on the cutting edge of an effort that will bring together their knowledge and expertise to serve transfer students not just in South Carolina but across the country.”

Participating South Carolina institutions are:

  • Aiken Technical College
  • Coastal Carolina University
  • College of Charleston
  • Denmark Technical College
  • Lander University

Ithaka’s selection criteria included a state’s demonstrated commitment to being transfer friendly and establishing or having established transfer pathways for transfer students, both of which have been priorities of the CHE and the South Carolina General Assembly for several years. Should the pilot lead to statewide adoption, it could also result in a cost savings to the state over the current transfer and articulation center.

This national-level project expands on Ithaka S+R’s current higher education Articulation of Credit Transfer project, which includes the City University of New York Transfer Explorer (CUNY T-Rex), a public, student-supporting transfer tool that shows how course credits and credits for prior learning earned through trainings and exams transfer and apply across CUNY institutions.

The planned design of the Transfer Explorer will allow users to:

  • Search course-to-course equivalencies as well as exams, certificates, and other forms of prior learning (such as military and workplace training) to determine what credits they earn and show how credits are applied across a system and institutions.
  • Select a starting institution and academic program, and a destination institution and academic program(s), to see what can be taken at the starting institution that will count towards the requirements of the destination program,
  • Enter a personal set of courses/experiences or upload a transcript of coursework and see how those credits will count towards requirements of one or more programs at a selected institution or institutions.
  • Enter a set of courses/experiences or a transcript to receive a generated list of recommended destination programs and institutions that fit well with the user’s completed credits.

Ithaka S+R is part of Ithaka, a not-for-profit organization helping the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways.

Related content: Ithaka S + R Transfer Explorer blog post: