Transfer agreement targets Heartland students

Derrin Coad, Staff Reporter

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated as of 7 p.m. 6/10/15.

Eastern and Heartland Community College in Bloomington reached a reverse transfer agreement on May 19 to assist incoming transfer students from Heartland earn their associate degree.

The reverse transfer agreement allows transfer students from Heartland who have previously earned 30 or more credits toward an associate degree to transfer and receive their degree after finishing the required courses at Eastern.

The Registrar’s Office at Eastern will notify Heartland once the student has finished their courses for the associate degree and send their transcript back to Heartland, at which point Heartland staff can then conduct a degree audit and award the student the degree that they have earned.

Amy Lynch of the Registrar’s Office said although this agreement does not immediately benefit Eastern as a whole, it is still a program that she is proud to be working on. She said she is thankful for the help she has received from Eastern staff to get it up and going.

“This has been very satisfying to get to do this program, and mostly we’re doing it because it’s a really good thing to do for our students,” Lynch said.

Lynch said 81 Eastern students have transferred from Heartland, but not all of them are eligible to be helped by this agreement.

Eastern’s reverse transfer agreement with Lake Land was finalized in February, Lynch said. While 50 students were invited to participate in the program, seven of them agreed and one has earned an associate degree so far, she said.

Lynch also said Eastern is in the process of setting up more reverse transfer agreements with a number of other community colleges, most of which are from the Chicago area.

Heartland President Rob Widmer said his college wanted to form the agreement after noticing Eastern make a similar reverse transfer agreement with Mattoon’s Lake Land College last year.

Widmer said Heartland is committed to making sure the process comes to no cost for the student despite the numerous steps involved with the process.

“(Students) do not need to pay to have the audit conducted or to have the transcripts sent or to graduate once the appropriate credits have been earned,” Widmer said, while also noting that the process “will represent a limited cost to Heartland.”

Despite the 100-mile distance between Eastern and Heartland, Widmer said this agreement is an opportunity to build a good “track record” and to start discussions for transfer agreements with other local colleges. Currently, Heartland’s only reverse transfer agreement is with Eastern.

“If (Heartland) can demonstrate that students can benefit by earning their associate degree after transfer, then we hope to enter into similar agreement with other institutions,” Widmer said. “We hope to be able to reach the same type of reverse transfer agreement with all of the other schools to which our students transfer.”


Derrin Coad can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].