CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University and Linn-Benton Community College today signed a new agreement to help students attain a "reverse transfer" associate's degree.

This program will allow a student who has taken some courses at LBCC and then transferred to OSU to obtain an associate's degree once they've accumulated enough credits to fulfill the two-year degree program requirements. The two institutions will track the progress an LBCC transfer student makes at OSU toward completing their two-year associate's degree and then grant the degree.

This is part of a pilot program between Oregon's public community colleges and universities. The two schools already have a long-standing, dual enrollment agreement that allows students to take courses at both institutions simultaneously. Since that began in 1998, more than 4,000 LBCC students have transferred to OSU.

Studies show that students who receive an associate's degree via reverse transfer are more likely to complete their four-year degree program, with retention rates improving by 10 percent once the students are in a four-year institution.

Students also graduate with two degrees, showing a broader, more accurate view of their skills and training, educators say. Even if they do not complete their four-year degree, they receive at least one degree, and that would also facilitate returning later to complete a four-year degree.

"For students who are struggling to afford and/or complete the four-year degree, unexpectedly receiving their associates degree has been shown to be an enormously effective inducement to continue," said OSU President Ed Ray. "In fact, it appears to be the most effective inducement. It also reinforces for all potential transfer students the value, and the possibility, of pursuing and achieving the four-year degree."

Ray, who is a first-generation college graduate, said giving more students the opportunity to receive associate's degrees will be a powerful tool to get them to believe in themselves and to push them toward their educational goals.

The reverse agreement also benefits the community college, which will receive credit for the degree completion, and more accurately reflects the investment of time, resources and support that the two-year institutions have provided the students before their transfer to a four-year university.

LBCC President Greg Hamann said the agreement will help students achieve their graduation goals, and enhances the strong ties already in place between the two schools.

"By working together, OSU and LBCC create an opportunity neither of us alone could do," Hamann said. "So much of our future depends on us working together for the good of our students."

OSU will also provide participating students from limited financial circumstances with $3,000 scholarships to help make higher education possible and encourage persistence.


Kate Peterson, assistant provost for enrollment management, 541-737-0759

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