photo courtesy of MSUB

MSU Billings Simplifies Credit Transfer

October 13, 2022

by Kelly McCandless

Montana State University Billings recently became a member of the Interstate Passport Network, a national program through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education enabling students to seamlessly transfer a block of lower-division general education courses based on an agreed upon set of learning outcomes rather than on specific courses and credits.

The Interstate Passport is a new way for college students to transfer their courses from one institution to another. Rather than having their new institution accept courses individually, earning a Passport means that students will have met all or nearly all the new institution’s lower division general education requirements. Students who complete MSUB’s passport block with a minimum grade of “C” in each course will be awarded the Passport. Students who later transfer with a Passport to another network member institution will not have to repeat or take additional courses to satisfy lower-division general education requirements.

According to Interstate Passport only 58 percent of community college transfer students can transfer most of their credits to their receiving institution. Fourteen percent of students lose more than 90 percent of their credits and the remaining 28% lose between 10 percent and 89 percent of their credits, costing students time and money. With Interstate Passport, member institutions have agreed to a set of learning outcomes that replaces the existing course-matching system of transfer. 

“I am so proud that MSU Billings is the first four-year institution of higher education in Montana to join the Interstate Passport Network, allowing students to seamlessly transfer their lower-division general education credits within participating institutions. A project of this magnitude required collaborative contributions from many individuals,” said MSUB Provost Sep Eskandari. “I would like to extend thanks and gratitude to the General Education Committee, and especially the co-chairs, Emily Arendt and Melinda Tilton. Moreover, Cheri Johannes, university registrar and executive director of Academic Success, ensured that our systems are ready to award and receive Interstate Passports.”

Currently, there are 67 Interstate Passport Network member institutions in 21 states, and MSU Billings is the second public higher education institution in Montana to join.

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