Brewer touts new law streamlining college credit transfers
GLENDALE – Laura Filip expected credit for the college algebra class she took in high school to follow her to Arizona State University. However, she said, ASU didn't recognize the class and told her to take a lower-level one.
"I'm not going to take another math class after my mother paid for the dual enrollment," Filip said. "It would just be so much easier if they had a standard."
A law that took effect earlier this year aims to eliminate such confusion by requiring common course numbers for all 100- and 200-level classes. It applies to all public universities and community colleges.
The goal: Keep transferring students from having to retake classes, which can be costly and delay graduation.
Gov. Jan Brewer, who is seeking election to a full term, visited ASU's West campus Wednesday to hold a ceremonial signing for SB 1186.
Brewer said the law is a logical step to help students looking to transfer credits between schools.
"It's a common sense law that means English 101 means English 101," she said.
Brewer was accompanied by members of a student advocacy group that proposed the change.
Sen. John Huppenthal, R-Chandler, who authored the bill, joined Brewer at the ceremony. A candidate for superintendent of public instruction, Huppenthal said his nephew had to retake a calculus course when he switched from the University of Arizona to ASU.
"Calculus has not changed in 400 years, but it changed between ASU and UofA," Huppenthal said.
Elma Delic, a University of Arizona student and board chair for Arizona Students' Association, said the group proposed the law after conducting informal surveys that found many students were frustrated with the transfer process.
Delic said that there are still kinks to work out. Universities and community colleges have until December to report how they will comply with the law. The first meeting to discuss the change will be held in a few weeks.
"By no means is this something that's going to happen right away," Delic said.
Member Stephanie Ortiz also had trouble when changing schools. She had nine credits that didn't transfer when she switched from Pima Community College to the ASU.
"I think it's absolutely exciting," Ortiz said about the new law.
Ortiz said she knew many people who decided to stay and obtain associate degrees at community colleges because they knew transferring credits to a university was going to be a hassle.
Tom Bauer, spokesman for Northern Arizona University, said that common numbering will help students understand the process of the higher educational system. He said he didn't see any negatives for students but added that there could be costs for universities and colleges to change their systems.