Students who earned an associate’s degree from a local community college took one of two paths:
– Transfer on the way to a 4-year university. At Community College, students took general education courses and some lower division core classes and transferred to the local state university as a junior.
– Career path towards a job. These associate degrees would help you get a job after graduation. Some of these careers that led to employment were: electronics, computer repair, auto mechanic, administrative assistant. College counselors emphasized that these associate degrees were not easily transferable.
Two changes have occurred to allow students with an associate professional degree (associate in applied science, associate in applied technology, or non-transferable AA or AS degrees) to advance and earn a bachelor’s degree without losing all of their credits.
1) Private universities (especially for-profit schools) allow students to transfer more AAS degrees and other non-transferable degrees without losing most of their credits. Although these private schools are more expensive, students find that it will take much less time to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
2) Some state legislatures began investigating the need for Community College to offer bachelor’s degrees. This was rejected by the state colleges who feared a great loss of students.
So local state universities began to make concessions. One compromise was to add the Bachelor of Applied Science or Bachelor of Applied Technology. Students with the AAS or other nontransferable associate degree now had a way to transfer the associate degree “in full” and would enter the state university as juniors. The term “Reverse Degree” was used to show that the major was at the community college or lower division level and that general education would be taught at the State College or higher division level.
Recently, more compromises have been proposed. Some states offer the 90-30 program. The first 90 credits (usually the first 3 years) are taught at the community college, with only one year at the most expensive state university. All of these changes have reduced the costs of attending state universities.