The innovation of interstate passport
The capability to issue Passports helps each institution recognize student achievement and serves as a valuable recruiting tool.
Interstate Passport is the only nationwide network of two-year and four-year non-profit colleges and universities dedicated to the block transfer of lower-division general education attainment based on multi-state faculty-developed learning outcomes and proficiency criteria.
This national program is based at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. Students of member institutions experience a seamless, efficient and economical transfer process.
- Allows cross-border “match” of Learning Outcomes-integrated general education for block transfer
- Removes obstacles for students, making the transfer process more predictable
- Eliminates unnecessary repetition of academic work already achieved
- Preserves institutional autonomy
- Streamlines administrative procedures
- Provides a benchmark for retention to improve graduation rates
- Shortens time to degree, thus saving students money
- Provides analysis of transfer students’ performance data for Quality Assurance
- Enables institutions to better serve a nationwide pool of well-prepared transfer students
“Despite the critical importance of higher education to our economy, the data that tell us how many students are progressing through and completing college are alarmingly poor. Common, comparable data are necessary to increase graduates, decrease attainment gaps and improve performance using existing resources.”
Behaviors of Students are Changing
The demographics and behaviors of students across America are changing. According to the National Student Clearinghouse:
- Over a third of all first-time students (37.2 percent) transferred to or enrolled in a different institution at least once within six years and before receiving a bachelor’s degree.
- Of those who transferred, almost half (45 percent) changed their institution more than once.
- Of today's transfer population, nearly 18.5 percent of community college students transfer across state lines, while 24 percent of students from four-year institutions transfer across state lines.
With these mobile student populations, it is evident that colleges and universities need to collaborate to increase completions and remain globally competitive.
Joining Interstate Passport Increases Opportunities for Student Success
To join the Interstate Passport Network, an institution or system should first declare its intent to become a Passport-granting institution by completing the Interstate Passport Application, which requires a copy of the institution’s or institutions’ proposed Passport Block(s). Once approved, applicants sign the Memorandum of Agreement, agreeing to all membership conditions for a five-year renewable term for institutions in good standing.
Each Interstate Passport member institution acknowledges that its student learning outcomes are congruent with the Passport Learning Outcomes and constructs its Passport Block - a menu of courses and learning experiences by which its students achieve these learning outcomes. Students who complete the Passport Block will be awarded a Passport. If a student who has earned a Passport transfers to another member institution, this learning will be recognized, and the student will not have to repeat or take additional coursework to meet lower-division general education requirements.
Participants receive numerous membership benefits including:
- Opportunities to shape the program by becoming a representative on the Interstate Passport Review Board, the Program’s policy-making body
- Capability to issue a Passport to recognize student achievement and to use as a recruiting tool.
- Participation in interstate faculty teams to continually monitor the relevancy of the Passport Learning Outcomes
- Annual Report on the overall performance of Interstate Passport with data on the number of Passports issued by each participating institution and analysis of data on the academic progress of students with a Passport throughout the program’s network
- Annual institution-specific report of data on the academic progress of former students for at least two terms after transfer to Interstate Passport Network institutions, along with a comparison to the performance of non-Interstate Passport transfer students and native students