Image of a walkway on campusImage of a walkway on campus

Academic Passport Policies

photo of students in classrooms

Students seeking to transfer to a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education university and who are admissible shall receive an evaluation of credits prior to enrollment and payment of tuition and fees. (Application fees may still be required.)

Current or future mutually agreed upon institutional articulation agreements may provide for the transfer of credits in excess of the numbers contained in this policy. Transfer students who meet the conditions of published articulation agreements (i.e., 2+2) between the sending and receiving institutions shall not be required to take a higher number of credits for the baccalaureate degree than indigenous students of the receiving institution.

For students holding an Academic Passport, admission to a specific curriculum and acceptance of transfer credits in that curriculum at a participating university shall be determined by the University based upon the same established criteria required for indigenous students.

Students transferring from a Pennsylvania community college with an Academic Passport shall be entitled to the same rights and privileges accorded system students with junior status.

In the acceptance and application of credits for students holding an Academic Passport, the receiving university shall look first to apply as many credits as possible toward the satisfaction of lower division general education requirements. Next, the receiving university shall look toward applying the credits remaining to satisfy requirements in the major. Lastly, credits may be applied to satisfy elective requirements. It is the intent of this policy that credits earned by a community college student as part of a qualifying degree program should be accepted and applied toward completion of the baccalaureate degree. It is recognized that in certain circumstances, such as change in major or intended program of study, it may not be possible to apply all credits earned at the community college to the four-year degree; however, absent legitimate academic reasons, the intent of this policy is to make full and complete use of credits earned in a qualified AA or AS degree program.

When a student transfers from one state system university to another, the record of all successfully completed undergraduate credits taken by the student at a system university shall be placed on the transcript of the receiving institution. The credits shall be evaluated by the receiving institution to determine which shall apply to general education requirements, the major requirements of the program in which the student is enrolled, or electives. State system universities shall honor and accept credits earned at other state system institutions. It is recognized that given the specific requirements of some majors for certification or licensure and the fact that students often do change majors, it may not always be possible to apply all credits earned to the receiving institution's degree program. The intent of this policy, however, is to maximize the acceptance and application of credits earned by a student at another state system university.

Transfer students shall not be required to repeat or retake courses they have already successfully completed at another accredited institution, as defined in the policy.

How This Policy is Implemented

The intent of this policy is to ensure that students transferring to state system universities have the skills and competencies to succeed in upper level college work. Competency may also be demonstrated through examination, and each university should provide transfer students with the same opportunities as non-transfer students to demonstrate their competence.

State system universities shall publish and promote all of their transfer programs, including the Academic Passport and other articulation agreements. They also shall offer transfer advisement and counseling to community college and university students interested in seeking admission to their institution.

An office or person shall be designated at each state system university to manage the articulation and transfer process internally and to provide the contact point for external communication. A student appeals process for transfer issues shall be developed at each state system university and published in the university catalog and other relevant documents.

Coordination of curriculum matters shall be the responsibility of the Articulation Coordinating Council with representatives of the participating colleges and universities meeting on a regular basis to work cooperatively to continuously improve and enhance the articulation between state system universities and Pennsylvania community colleges.

The Articulation Coordinating Council shall convene a meeting of state system university faculty representatives and community college faculty representatives for the purpose of enhancing and advancing the development of program to program articulation agreements, exploring agreement on a common core for general education, and to define more fully the distinctions between upper and lower division courses, and the assignment of course numbers. The discipline-based faculty groups also may consider programmatic implications associated with implementation of this policy.

It is recognized that much work remains to be done before Pennsylvania has an effective statewide articulation program. To that end, the board of governors directs the state system universities to join with other publicly funded higher education institutions to (1) develop a statewide articulation program which would consider establishment of core to core general education and program to program agreements and (2) determine the applicability of Associate of Applied Science degree credits to baccalaureate degree programs as well as the feasibility of common course numbering, indexing  or other innovations designed to provide students with a more effective and efficient pathway through higher education.