Mason President Anne Holton to help lead national task force

George Mason University Interim President Anne Holton will co-chair a National Task Force on Transfer of Credit, with a mission to formulate best practices and emerging strategies for improving the transfer and award of student credit.

The ultimate goal, Holton said, is to advance student success, promote equity, make college more affordable and reduce the time it takes to graduate.

“Transfer students are a growing group and not every student travels the same path,” said Holton, who was Virginia’s Secretary of Education from 2014-16. “Improving the way credits are transferred is critical to engaging those students and increasing their success. I’m excited to be part of this task force and the critical work of helping improve the way we support our students.”

The National Task Force on Transfer of Credit, launched by the American Council on Education (ACE), comprises presidents and chancellors of two- and four-year, public and private nonprofit colleges and universities from across the country, and is supported by a grant from Strada Education Network.

A July 2018 report from the National Student Clearinghouse reported that more than a million students—38 percent of the 2.8 million who entered college in the fall of 2011—transferred to a different institution at least once within six years, with many losing credits in the process.

Mason already is a leader in streamlining pathways for transfer students with its ADVANCE Program, a collaboration with Northern Virginia Community College that facilitates credit transfers, provides admission guidance, and helps students save money while earning both associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. The program received the 2019 John N. Gardner Institutional Excellence for Students in Transition Award, presented by the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition.

The task force, which also includes Northern Virginia Community College President Anne M. Kress, will meet several times throughout 2020, and will release a final report in early 2021. The work will include a series of white papers to inform the task force’s work on topics such as student support services and pathways, credit transfer technology, and credit for prior learning.