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Introduction and Background



A strategic resource of the State of Ohio is its diverse approach to college-level learning opportunities which students may access from many entry points to advance their education for personal and professional improvement. Making this resource more reachable produces a more educated citizenry, which is foundational to improve both the quality of life and economic vitality of Ohio. Developing this resource through the strong leadership of faculty and administrators ensures the continuing high quality of learning that occurs at Ohio public institutions.

To advance this interest, the many state-assisted[1] and independent colleges and universities and career-technical institutions operating in Ohio offer an array of courses, programs, certificates, undergraduate degrees, and certification and licensure opportunities. Students use these resources in a wide variety of ways - choosing a few courses, a few terms, a certificate, a full degree, or multiple degrees to meet their educational goals. Research shows that nearly 40,000 undergraduates transfer among Ohio's public institutions of higher education each year.

While some students may begin and complete their education at one institution, many find it necessary to enroll in a course or two as a guest/transient student at other institutions along the way. Research indicates:

  • The increases in earned credit and the ratio of earned to attempted credit indicate that the academic performance of 2-year college students transferring to 4-year universities actually improved over time, allaying quality concerns associated with increased transfer volumes from 2-year colleges to 4-year universities.
  • Increased cumulative graduation rates clearly show that the increase in the number of graduates from the ranks of transfer students is due to both increased transfer volumes and increased rates of graduation. [2]

Research further shows that the annual savings to students completing their coursework at a less expensive public higher education institution and transferring it to a more expensive institution is estimated conservatively at approximately 78 million dollars. [3]

Additionally, some students have completed transferable college-level courses while enrolled in high school through Ohio’s College Credit Plus (CCP) Program, for which the research shows these dual enrolled students have better academic performance at public higher education institutions in comparison with students without any form of accelerated learning.[4] [4] Other students possess college-level competence through prior learning experiences that occurred, for example, during military or employee training, apprenticeship programs, career-technical education programs, or as they prepared for and passed competency examinations.

A large segment of students, however, find that personal, professional, or academic reasons prompt their transition from one learning venue to another in pursuit of their educational aspirations. Student movement may also be multi-directional among public community colleges, universities, career-technical institutions, and other learning settings defined in this Policy, as students leverage these educational resources in the variety of ways outlined above.

Ohio’s General Assembly, the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR)[5], and public higher education and adult and secondary career-technical institutions support multiple educational pathways to meet the full spectrum of student learning needs and aspirations. They further affirm that improved transfer student mobility will increase student satisfaction, degree completion, and the efficient use of tax dollars. To advance these goals, sound public policy to improve student mobility must include provisions to maximize the acceptance and application of credit for college-level prior learning and equitably treat students who transfer and articulate that learning for credit. Inter-institutional cooperation within this diverse system of higher learning is essential to facilitate the necessary acceptance and application of students’ prior learning

[1] Historically the term “state-assisted” was used to describe Ohio higher education institutions that received public funding; however, throughout this document, the word “public” is being used.

[2] Transfers in the University System of Ohio State Initiatives and Outcomes 2002-2009, October 21, 2010. Reference link: https://transfercredit.ohio.gov/static/files/transfer/research/Transfer_Report_071811_Update.pdf.

[3] The concept of transfer-facilitated savings, the estimation methodology, the estimates, and their interpretations are presented in the report titled Estimates of Transfer-Facilitated Savings: Concept, Methodology, Estimates, & Interpretation (See the following link for the: Full Report (PDF)).

[4] Academic Outcomes of 4-Year University Freshman Cohorts: A Comparison of Dual Enrollees & Advanced Placement (AP) Credit Recipients May 2014. Reference link: PDF

[5] Historically the name “Ohio Board of Regents (OBR)” was used throughout the Policy. Pertinent to Section 369.550 of House Bill 59 of the 130th General Assembly, the Board of Regents was renamed the Department of Higher Education. The name “Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE)” is being used throughout this document


Senate Bill 268 and Amended Substitute House Bill 111 from the 118th General Assembly of the State of Ohio directed the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) to develop and implement a statewide Articulation and Transfer Policy (See Appendix A, LEGISLATION). In November 1989, the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education appointed a 21-member Commission on Articulation and Transfer to develop a policy framework for a statewide articulation and transfer process. The resulting recommendations guided the ODHE to coordinate the work of public higher education institutions to later develop the foundation for the Ohio Transfer 36 (formerly the Ohio Transfer Module (OTM)).

While the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Policy, developed by the Commission and subsequently approved in November of 1990 by the ODHE, provided a coherent set of principles and guidelines that improved the transfer process, it also facilitated enhanced inter-institutional cooperation. Such collaboration among Ohio public institutions of higher education has provided a rich environment to systemically develop, implement, and improve both institutional and state policies that facilitate the articulation and transfer of equivalent student learning among those entities.

With the assistance of the Commission on Articulation and Transfer, the original Ohio Articulation and Transfer Policy (the “Policy”) was implemented in 1990 so that a transfer student with an equivalent academic record could complete a comparable degree and certificate to that of a native student who began enrollment at the receiving institution. Students who transfer or receive college credit for equivalent learning governed by the Policy are responsible for meeting all curricular residency requirements at the receiving institution to qualify for a degree or certificate.  

The 1990 Commission’s guiding objectives (Appendix B, COMMISSION ON ARTICULATION AND TRANSFER GUIDING OBJECTIVES) continue to inform Policy reviews coordinated by the ODHE. Recommendations adopted from reviews, together with statutory and other Policy requirements, including Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 3333.16, 3333.161, 3333.162, 3333.163, 3333.164, and 3345.38, as well as Section 363.120 of House Bill 59 of the 130th General Assembly, formed the foundation of the revised 2007 Ohio Articulation and Transfer Policy, as well as subsequent ongoing policy improvements made in 2011 and 2015. In consultation with the various articulation and transfer councils, committees, and working groups, the Policy is updated as statutes are enacted, and statewide directives and initiatives implemented (See the Supplementary Information section, Directives of the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education Concerning Articulation and Transfer, Including Document Links). Other Policy reviews and updates occur as needed.

A distinguishing strength of Ohio’s effort to advance articulation and transfer policy and practice has been the strong commitment of and rich contributions made by faculty to the process. Hundreds of faculty content experts from universities, community colleges, and career-technical institutions continue to participate in dozens of standing committees, work groups, statewide discussions, document reviews, professional development events, and other processes. A non-negotiable requirement is to ensure that the tedious articulation and transfer work to approve courses, programs, and prior learning, which results in awarding college credit, continues to be performed at the highest level of integrity.

The Policy, which follows, is a living document having undergone many changes over the years to incrementally improve articulation and transfer. While some of the changes have been relatively minor adjustments, others have prompted significant curricular and administrative changes across public higher education and career-technical institutions.

Significant enhancements to institutional practice and student opportunities to transfer and articulate credit are firmly in place, including:

  • Application of the Ohio Transfer 36 on a course-by-course basis and as its entirety, making transfer more flexible in meeting students’ needs.
  • Development of Transfer Assurance Guides (TAGs) to create discipline-specific pathways to and among public institutions of higher education. This process resulted in rectifying course equivalency mismatches by enhancing the curriculum of the deficient course based on endorsed statewide learning outcomes, as well as reforming curriculum requirement differences to assure transfer applicability in various majors.
  • Full implementation of the electronic course/program equivalency applicability tool that the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network subscribes for use by all public institutions in order for students to learn in advance how their credits will transfer and apply at the receiving institution.
  • Guaranteed transfer admission to a public university and technical and community college for students who have completed an associate degree and an Ohio Transfer 36 from an Ohio public institution of higher education.
  • An unprecedented collaborative effort among Ohio’s Department of Higher Education, office of career-technical education of the Ohio Department of Education, public higher education and adult/secondary career-technical institutions, employers, apprenticeship boards, labor unions, accrediting bodies, and other state agencies such as the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Ohio Department of Veterans Services.
  • A reduction of institutional barriers and unnecessary course/program duplication by articulating courses/programs that adhere to recognized industry standards and established learning outcomes which are deemed equivalent and common to the aforementioned educational institutions.

The long view from the past through the present and into the future reveals a continuous evolution of articulation and transfer development and implementation in Ohio.

  • The initial articulation and transfer policy and the curricular structure of the Ohio Transfer 36 laid a firm foundation for the equitable treatment of transfer and native students.
  • The faculty-driven, student-focused course equivalency guarantees of the Transfer Assurance Guides (TAGs) extend curricular connections beyond general education coursework and into pathways to specific disciplines. Faculty use a 70% standard for equivalency when matching learning outcomes. However, some specific exceptions require a higher level of congruence than the 70% standard (See Appendix C, DEFINING THE 70% STANDARD IN TRANSFER ASSURANCE GUIDE LEARNING OUTCOMES).
  • Credit guarantees through Career-Technical Assurance Guides (CTAGs), Advanced Placement (AP) Exams, Apprenticeship Programs, and Military Transfer Assurance Guides (MTAGs) opened new learning doors for Ohio students, who research showed are increasingly transferring, swirling, taking advantage of the course/program equivalency guarantees, and persisting after matriculating to their next institution.
  • Electronic transcripts are expeditiously processed through a statewide articulation and transfer clearinghouse from the sending to the receiving institution to improve transparency and reporting of previously earned and articulated credit with consistency across the system.
  • A course/program equivalency management system is a key implementation tool for public institutions to submit and the statewide faculty panels to review and approve courses and programs in order to gain statewide credit transfer guarantees. In addition, the system provides transparency of the approved course/program equivalency information through electronic reporting tools to students and advisors, so they can make informed transfer and degree completion plans.
  • Articulation and transfer has ultimately transitioned from the traditional process of constructing course equivalencies on the basis of course descriptions, credits, and seat time to a competency-based articulation and transfer course/program equivalency system that focuses on matching learning outcomes and industry standards to articulate specific levels of learning mastery. Additionally, the state of Ohio transcends beyond common numbering to guaranteed course equivalency. Through statewide faculty review panels and established review processes, Ohio has developed connectors between institutional courses and articulation and transfer initiatives to guarantee educational rigor and quality of transfer credit across the state. Such connectors include Ohio Articulation Numbers (OANs) that are assigned to each approved course in addition to its unique institutional course number or designation, signifying in part that the course is guaranteed to apply as an equivalent course or courses bearing the same OAN offered at other public institutions of higher education. Examples of Transfer Assurance Guide (TAG) OANs include OSS051 (Introduction to Geographic Information Systems) and OET022 (Programmable Logic Controllers).

The Policy provides rationale, requirements, procedures, and guidelines to assure the efficient and appropriate transfer from one postsecondary institution to another during the course of students’ undergraduate education, as well as to assure that other learning, within the scope of Policy guarantees, is accepted and applied toward degrees and certificates. The historical construct undergirding Ohio’s articulation and transfer initiatives has always been to provide a high-quality educational experience for transfer and native students alike

Executive Summary

The Ohio General Assembly, Department of Higher Education (ODHE), and public higher education and career-technical education institutions support multiple educational pathways to meet the full spectrum of student needs and educational aspirations. Life circumstances often necessitate students to transfer and apply prior learning and credit hours from one setting to another. Transfer volume among Ohio undergraduates alone has grown 32.2% from FY2002 to FY2014. It follows that an improved process for transfer student mobility will increase both student satisfaction and certificate and degree completion. Sound public policy must include provisions to maximize credit for prior learning and equitably treat transfer and native students alike. Inter-institutional cooperation is essential to facilitate transfer and sustain a high level of academic integrity in the system.

Ohio did not hesitate when faced with the challenge to create an articulation and transfer system. While substantial and innovative progress has already earned national recognition, the system continues to evolve, broaden, and deepen as benefits extend to more students, more institutions, more courses, more programs, and more disciplines. The Ohio Articulation and Transfer Policy was initially developed to facilitate the movement of students and credits among public institutions of higher education. The Policy was subsequently extended to include proper recognition of prior learning and to facilitate the movement of those articulated credits to public institutions of higher education from other public institutions of higher education, adult and secondary career-technical institutions, high school Advanced Placement exam programs, apprenticeship programs, and the military. Statewide processes encourage faculty recognition of equivalent learning experiences and expectations across institutions. They also encourage students to complete and transfer “units” of educational experience as they progress (e.g., completing the Ohio Transfer 36, certificates, licenses, and associate and baccalaureate degrees).

In the early 1990’s, Ohio’s first comprehensive statewide initiative toward expanding articulation and transfer resulted in the establishment of the Ohio Transfer 36 (formerly the Ohio Transfer Module (OTM)) – a subset or the complete set of an institution’s liberal or general education requirements across various discipline areas. Since then, five distinct developmental phases characterized Ohio’s “total system” approach to address increasing student mobility and the articulation and transfer of learning as students moved among public colleges, universities, and career-technical institutions. New questions about what merits credit – in terms of knowledge and skill expectations and the degree structures used to encase those experiences – are being effectively addressed and answered.

The ODHE and institutional partners have made significant advancements in addressing these issues. These committed colleagues established a statewide network in 2011– and what has now evolved into the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network (OATN) – that facilitates and coordinates the efforts to provide transfer credit guarantee programs. Perhaps most importantly, hundreds of faculty, staff, and institutional and state leaders continue to meet in order to further enhance the system that benefits students, institutions, employers, and Ohio’s economy. As competent leaders assumed their roles to establish early transfer processes, emerging leaders were developed through productive systematic collaborations. This total system approach bodes well to sustain articulation and transfer into the future (See Appendix D, DIRECTIVE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE OHIO ARTICULATION AND TRANSFER NETWORK).

Much of Ohio’s success in credit transfer can be attributed to its Five-Step Process to Equivalency that helped partners reach consensus on course/program equivalency criteria and matrix. Without this process, statewide course/program equivalency guarantees would not be possible, and transfer would be unreliable. The key component of the Five-Step Process to Equivalency is the trust built through extensive faculty involvement in the entire process. Faculty content experts define agreed-upon outcomes that represent a given postsecondary course. The defined course learning outcomes are then sent to public higher education institutions for endorsement. Once the course outcomes are endorsed, higher education and adult/secondary career-technical institutions determine which course(s)/program(s) from among those they offer are close matches to the endorsed learning outcomes. Then, they submit their course(s)/program(s) using an electronic course/program equivalency management system. Next, appropriate faculty review panels validate accompanied materials for the endorsed criteria (See Figure 2). The panel reviews and approves the course(s)/ program(s). Finally, all approved courses and programs are posted on the state’s course/program reporting systems.

As Ohio’s credit transfer system was developed and strengthened, courses/programs at some institutions as well as state-level standards often had to be restructured to include the appropriate outcomes or content, which was the responsibility of each stakeholder involved in the process, including individual faculty. Hundreds of faculty content experts from two-year, four-year, and career-technical institutions took part in the Five-Step Process to Equivalency to identify the outcomes and review and approve course/program matches. Building and executing a structure and sequence of activities learned through the initial experiences, Ohio continues to become increasingly proficient and efficient in strengthening its statewide course/program equivalency approval processes.

Ohio’s inaugural Articulation and Transfer Policy (1990) was considered a breakthrough achievement to improve student mobility among public colleges and universities. Policy revisions of 2007, 2011, and 2015 were prompted by periodic legislation passed by the Ohio General Assembly that resulted in both improved opportunities for students to earn and apply college credit toward program completion, as well as enhanced procedures for institutions to accept and apply transfer and articulated credit to their courses/programs. In order to expand opportunities for Ohio citizens, other means of articulating and transferring prior learning were thoughtfully and systemically developed employing quality assurance procedures and are summarized below.

Student Admission: The Policy generally preserves the college’s or university's practice of making admission decisions on the basis of academic standards and non-academic standards such as space availability, adherence to deadlines, and payment of fees. However, it specifically requires that graduates who are considered transfer students under the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) definition with a completed associate degree and a completed Ohio Transfer 36 from a public institution of higher education in Ohio be admitted to a public higher education institution, provided that their grade-point average (GPA) is at least 2.0 for all previous college-level courses and that other institutional admission criteria, such as space availability, adherence to deadlines, payment of fees, and grade-point average that are fairly and equally applied to all undergraduate students, have also been satisfied.  Further, these students shall have admission priority over graduates with an out-of-state associate degree and other students with transferable and/or articulated college credit. The admission of transfer students by an institution does not guarantee admission to any degree programs, majors, minors, or fields of concentration. Some programs have additional requirements beyond those for general admission to the institution (e.g., background check, a grade-point average higher than a 2.0, or a grade-point average higher than the average required for admission to the institution). In such cases, incoming transfer students shall be able to compete for admission to specific programs on the same basis as students native to the receiving institution.

Institutional Policy and Catalog: Institutional articulation and transfer policy and corresponding catalog statements must agree with all provisions of Ohio Policy and be readily communicated. Students bringing credit to the receiving institution are subject to the requirements and processes cited in the catalog current at the time of their admission and to any revisions that occur after its publication and prior to their enrollment. Once admitted, such students are subject to the same regulations governing applicability of catalog requirements as native students.

State Certification, Statutory, Institutional Accreditors Commission that were formerly Regional Accreditors Commission, and Professional Association Accreditation Requirements: The Policy is developed to comply with state licensure, statutory, and certification requirements. Therefore, faculty proactively endeavor to accommodate guidance and expectations of the institutional accreditors commission that were formerly regional accreditors commission and professional associations as they develop and revise course/program learning outcomes for Transfer Assurance Guides (TAGs), Career-Technical Assurance Guides (CTAGs), Military Transfer Assurance Guides (MTAGs), Apprenticeship Pathway Programs, or other credit articulation and transfer initiatives. However, such guidance and expectations should not contravene the acceptance and application of a course/program guarantee for credit through these or any other Policy initiative.

Acceptance and Application of Credit: The Policy distinguishes between the acceptance and application of transfer and articulated credit by the receiving institution to the student's chosen program. Transfer credits accepted by the receiving institution will be posted to the student's record and transcript. Students will receive transfer credit for all college-level courses they have passed and/or for articulated credit for prior learning successfully completed as delineated in the Policy (See the Definitions section of this Policy, Passing Grade; and Appendix E, TRANSFER OF COURSES WITH A PASSING GRADE POLICY). From among the credits which have been posted to the student's record and appear on his or her transcript, the receiving institution, within the provisions of this Policy, will determine how credits will or will not be applied toward degree requirements at the receiving institution as follows:

  • Ohio Transfer 36: It is assumed that a common body of knowledge, comprised of a subset or the complete set of an institution’s general education curriculum, can be found in the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and baccalaureate degree programs offered at various institutions. An Ohio Transfer 36 can be drawn from this broader general education curriculum. Each institution has identified its Ohio Transfer 36 according to the guidelines and learning outcomes appended. Students enrolled in applied degree programs may choose to go beyond their degree requirements to complete the entire Ohio Transfer 36. Individuals who successfully complete the Ohio Transfer 36 at one public institution of higher education in Ohio will be considered to have met the Ohio Transfer 36 requirements of the receiving institution. Approved Ohio Trasnfer 36 courses, when taken individually, are also guaranteed for transfer among public higher education institutions on a course-by-course basis and are to be applied to the Ohio Transfer 36 of the receiving institution.
  • Transfer Assurance Guides (TAGs): TAG courses are pre-major/beginning major courses that have been identified as common requirements across public bachelor's degree programs. They are guaranteed to transfer and apply to specific TAG-related degree/program requirements as equivalent courses. 
  • Career-Technical Assurance Guides (CTAGs): Built upon a similar philosophy as the TAGs, CTAGs facilitate the award and transfer of college credit in technical courses/programs among public institutions of learning, including secondary and adult career-technical institutions, colleges, and universities.
  • Military Transfer Assurance Guides (MTAGs): College credit is guaranteed for service members with military training, experience, or coursework that is recognized by the American Council on Education (ACE) or a institutional accreditor that was formerly a regional accreditor military institution, such as Community College of the Air Force. Pathway guarantees (MTAGs) have been developed to ensure the applicability of equivalent courses toward specific degree and program requirements.
  • Apprenticeship Pathway Programs: Technology-specific statewide articulation agreements in apprenticeship programs recognize non-traditional prior learning, for which college credit is awarded toward a technical associate degree.
  • Prior Learning Assessment (PLA): Prior learning at the college-level that is acquired through means other than credit course enrollment (e.g., work experience, professional training, military training, or recognized examinations, certificates, and certifications) is assessed through a number of rigorous evaluation methods. Credit is awarded and applied within the scope of this Policy (See the Definitions section of this Policy, Prior Learning and Prior Learning Assessment).
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Exams: College credit is guaranteed for students who achieve an AP exam score of 3 or higher in accordance with the Course Alignment Recommendations.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams: Each public institution of higher education in Ohio provides a policy including the minimum scores and course/credit alignments for awarding college credit for successfully completed International Baccalaureate exams.
  • One-Year Option:  Adult learners are awarded technical course credit toward a general associate of technical studies degree for completing an occupational skills training program at an adult public career-technical education institution and the respective credential approved by the Chancellor.
  • Ohio Guaranteed Transfer Pathways: OGTP ensures that students who complete as associate degree in an OGTP area enter a bachelor's degree program with junior standing and are able to complete a bachelor's degree in an equivalent field in approximately 60 additional credit hours. The OGTP initiative builds upon the existing statewide credit transfer guarantees including the Ohio Transfer 36, Transfer Assurance Guides, Military Transfer Assurance Guides, and Career-Technical Assurance Guides. 

Baccalaureate degrees are typically completed in four semesters after earning an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree. This may not be true for transfer or native students who change programs of study or who fail to complete the appropriate prerequisite or general education courses that satisfy the Ohio Transfer 36 or the broader general education or major requirements. For example, students who complete algebra-based or applied physics courses to satisfy the Ohio Transfer 36 will find that they cannot transfer such courses to satisfy the requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in physics or engineering. Appropriate lower-division courses that are prerequisite to upper-division requirements in a given program must additionally be completed by the transfer student. 

  • Credit When It’s Due: Through the Credit When It’s Due program, participating institutions collaborate to exchange the academic records of eligible transfer students to determine if their previously earned college credit is sufficient to be awarded an associate degree or certificate by applying credit before and/or after they began their current degree or certificate program.
  • Application of Credit to the Major, Minor, and Field of Concentration: Other than the Ohio Transfer 36, Transfer Assurance Guides (TAGs), Career-Technical Assurance Guides (CTAGs), Military Transfer Assurance Guides (MTAGs), Apprenticeship Pathway Programs, Advanced Placement (AP) Exams, the One-Year Option, and he Ohio Guaranteed Transfer Pathways (OGTPs), the application of credit for requirements in a specific academic major, minor, or field of concentration will be made on a course-by-course basis by the receiving institution.
  • Treatment of Upper- and Lower-Division Credit: A course completed at one public institution of higher education and transferred to another will be applied to the student’s degree objective in the same manner as its equivalent course at the receiving institution.
  • Applied Associate Degrees: Applied degree graduates who transfer to an Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), or Bachelor's degree program typically must complete additional general education courses to satisfy the general education requirements. Individual Ohio Transfer 36 courses completed will transfer and apply toward the Ohio Transfer 36 of the receiving institution.
  • Non-Traditional Credit and Electives: Non-traditional credit transfers as an equivalent course(s) when available at the receiving institution. If there are no equivalent courses and the courses are not applicable to the TAG, CTAG, MTAG, Ohio Transfer 36, General Education Requirements, or specific program requirements, such courses will transfer or articulate as free or general electives when they exist in a program.

Institutional Support for Student Advising through the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network (OATN): Both sending and receiving institutions proactively provide transfer and articulation advising to students as early in their matriculation as possible. Centrally coordinated resources directly support public institutions to effectively comply with the standards set by the OATN. Please see Appendix AA for additional recommendations to strengthen Ohio public institutional advising. 

Student Responsibilities: In addition to defining institutional responsibilities, the Policy encourages students to take personal responsibility to make informed transfer and degree completion plans, including course selections. In this process, students should consult the statewide electronic course/program equivalency reporting systems that contain courses and programs having statewide applicability guarantees. Students should also consult the electronic course applicability system that the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network subscribes for the institutions to search for other course equivalencies and specific degree requirements. Furthermore, students are encouraged to seek information and advice from both the sending and receiving institutions and to know appeal process procedures regarding transfer course decisions made by receiving institutions.

Communication: Institutions establish routine communication and internal accountability methods to address systems and issues associated with student transfer. Institutional issues may be shared with other institutions through various statewide stakeholder venues, including the OATN Advisory Council. The OATN provides an electronic forum to conduct statewide articulation and transfer discussions and share promising practices.

Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network (OATN) Oversight Board: The OATN Oversight Board serves in an advisory capacity to the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.  Chaired by the Chancellor or his/her designee, membership of the Oversight Board includes college presidents, superintendents, provosts, chief academic officers, and other representatives from college, university, and adult/secondary career-technical institutions having responsibility relating to articulation and transfer. Committees are appointed to review and make recommendations on OATN curriculum, policy, implementation, compliance, operation, and budget issues.

Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network (OATN) Advisory Council: ODHE and OATN coordinate an Advisory Council comprised of representatives from Ohio public and private institutions of higher education, adult and secondary career-technical institutions, and other appropriate stakeholders. The Chancellor selects Advisory Council members from representatives nominated by institutional chief administrators including presidents, provosts and chief academic officers, or school superintendents. The OATN Advisory Council has the responsibility to advise the OATN Oversight Board and the Chancellor of the ODHE.

Branding: To increase public awareness of opportunities available, strategies have been developed to advance a consistent brand for Ohio’s many articulation and transfer initiatives, which is called Ohio Transfer to Degree Guarantee (T2DG).

Research and Evaluation: The Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network (OATN), working in close cooperation with the OATN Oversight Board and the Advisory Council, administer research studies and an assessment and validation system to measure Policy effectiveness. Research helps provide validation and also identifies needs for Policy adjustments and process improvement.

Technology Infrastructure: In support of improved articulation and transfer processes, the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network coordinate and maintain statewide resources made available to citizens, public colleges and universities, school districts, adult and secondary career-technical institutions, and other entities that participate in the Ohio Transfer to Degree Guarantee program. Infrastructure examples include: an articulation and transfer clearinghouse to electronically exchange transcripts with more consistent data structure and streamline the transfer credit evaluation process; course/program equivalency reporting systems to be used for advising and helping student attain the educational credentials right for them; an electronic course/program equivalency management system to submit, review, and approve courses and programs for the statewide transfer guarantees; statewide information and outreach websites for education partners and students; and a communication platform/forum that allows institutional users to help each other by sharing and discussing issues, announcements, and other articulation and transfer related information among public institutions.

Student Appeals Process: Students may appeal decisions made by institutions regarding the acceptance and application of credit through a multi-level campus appeals process, about which each institution is required to notify students.

Effective January 1, 2015, all public institutions of higher education shall also establish an appeals procedure for students who are veterans or service members for resolving disputes regarding the awarding of college credit for military training, experience, and coursework.

Student Complaints Following Transfer Appeals at the Receiving Institution: Students who are not satisfied with the institutional decision after all campus-based appeals are exhausted may follow established procedures to submit a written complaint to the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

Ongoing Implementation: The Articulation and Transfer Commission that developed the initial Ohio Articulation and Transfer Policy in 1990 was superseded by two governing entities appointed by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE): the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network (OATN) Oversight Board and the OATN Advisory Council. Both are representative bodies having members nominated by various stakeholders. Particularly for the OATN Oversight Board, the Chancellor selects and appoints board members. Committees are appointed to review and make recommendations on OATN curriculum, policy, implementation, compliance, operational, and budget issues.

Ohio’s Pride: Experience has taught Ohio that building an effective credit transfer and student mobility system poses both manageable challenges and limitless opportunities. The task demands system transformation. It requires radical change, both in the way people think about learning and in the way learners acquire the knowledge and the critical thinking skills that enhance participatory democracy, contribute to the resolution of pressing public issues, and serve the common good. A system that encourages progressive educational attainment by allowing students to build upon prior learning, demonstrate their competence, complete education at a lower cost, and control both the pace and direction of their study truly shifts the focus of learning from institutions to learners. Ohio is proud of its accomplishments.

Applicability of the Articulation and Transfer Policy

Ohio’s Articulation and Transfer Policy applies to college course credits, documented learning specified within the Policy, and related articulation and transfer matters for all undergraduate and other students who seek admission to an Ohio public institution of higher education and desire to: 1) transfer college credit among Ohio public institutions of higher education or 2) articulate secondary, postsecondary, and other prior learning experiences as college credit to Ohio public institutions of higher education as specifically approved in this Policy. The Articulation and Transfer Policy is specific to Ohio public institutions of higher education and excludes out-of-state institutions of higher education. While all public colleges and universities are required to follow the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Policy, independent (private) colleges and universities in Ohio may or may not participate in the Transfer Policy. Therefore, students interested in transferring to independent institutions are encouraged to check with the college or university of their choice regarding transfer agreements. Though some Ohio independent institutions follow articulation and transfer initiatives, without faculty review, courses are not guaranteed to transfer as equivalent. However, student mobility is evident in the state of Ohio and thus Public institutions are free and encouraged to enter articulation agreements with Ohio independent institutions as referenced in the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) policy book

Members of the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Network (OATN) Oversight Board and OATN Advisory Council recommend that Ohio’s institutional accreditors that were formerly regionally accredited independent institutions of higher education adopt general Policy requirements, practices, and guidelines. An Ohio independent institution that wishes to be considered for participation in the OATN statewide guarantee processes, including authorization to use tools such as the e-transcript, may direct an inquiry to the OATN. Such participation, if approved by the Chancellor, requires formal adoption of the Policy by the governing authority of the independent institution

Policy Document

Access the entire Ohio Articulation and Transfer Policy document in printer-friendly pdf format.