When senior Taylor Smith transferred to Franklin College from Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis in 2015, she expected to graduate in May 2017.
Now, she’s paying out of pocket for two additional semesters to earn the credits she needs to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Franklin in May 2018—simply because credits she previously earned at IUPUI were not accepted at Franklin.
“For me, there is a big issue,” Smith said. “I’m on more of a time crunch. It was very heartbreaking to know that I already put in all of this work before, and it didn’t really pay off in the end. I’ve spent money previously to take those classes and for those books.”
When students apply to transfer credits from a previous college or a dual-credit course from high school, each academic department evaluates the courses from other colleges to determine whether the credits are transferable, said Kate Coffman, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid.
If the credits are accepted, the department then determines whether the transferred credits apply to the major or as elective credits.
“It’s definitely an issue we’re working on,” Coffman said. “We’re also looking at how we form partnerships with places like Ivy Tech so that we create a pathway to Franklin and it’s really clear to students.”
For Smith, she said she had to weigh whether the time and money spent to finish out her degree at Franklin was worth it.
“I want to say I tried to transfer almost 60 and they transferred 40,” she said. “I was transferring in as a senior, but my credits they accepted put me as a sophomore”
Eight of those credits were from two IUPUI Spanish courses Smith completed, but Franklin did not accept them because “the Spanish department didn’t view it as up to their standards,” she said. Now, Smith would have to spend more money out of pocket to earn the credits again.
“You can only get state and federal aid for 8 semesters,” Coffman said. “Say they had completed four semesters at their previous school, and we tell them it’s going to take five here. Then there’s an out-of-pocket expense to cover that extra semester that their aid won’t cover. So sometimes they don’t transfer.”
If a student is declined their credits when attempting to transfer, they are eligible to create a petition for the credits. However, Smith said this doesn’t always lead to a successful outcome.
“I went ahead and petitioned the school to accept [the credits],” Smith said. “They declined it.”
She said she hopes to see a change implemented in the system within the near future to ensure students benefit from the work they complete, whether it be at Franklin or another institution.
“I truly love going to this school,” Smith said. “We should be a little more lenient on what students have done.”