Comprehensive Standard 3.4.4: Acceptance of Academic Credit
The institution publishes polices that include criteria for evaluating, awarding, and accepting credit for transfer, experiential learning, Advanced Placement, and professional certificates that are consistent with its mission and ensure that course work and learning outcomes are at the collegiate level and comparable to the institution’s own degree programs. The institution assumes responsibility for the academic quality of any course work or credit recorded on the institution’s transcript. (See Commission policy “Agreements Involving Joint and Dual Academic Awards: Policy and Procedures.”)
The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USF Sarasota-Manatee) follows formal policies for evaluating, awarding, and accepting credit. These policies are consistent with USF Sarasota-Manatee’s MIssion Statement and align with Florida laws and requirements of the Florida Board of Governors’ (BOG) and the Florida Department of Education (DOE). Additional information on credit awarded for courses is provided in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.6 (Practices for Awarding Credit).
To ensure the integrity of the process and in keeping with USF System Regulation 3.018, Admission to Baccalaureate Programs of University of South Florida System Institutions, students must send official transcripts, test scores, and other credentials for evaluation directly from the issuing institutions and agencies. Admissions evaluates the number of transferable credits to determine the appropriate applicant category and admissibility. After admission, Academic Advising reviews the transcripts for USF Sarasota-Manatee course equivalencies. Staff in both Admissions and Academic Advising work closely with the deans and faculty to determine transferable academic credit. USF Sarasota-Manatee evaluates credit on a course-by-course basis and reserves the right to deny transfer credit, as stated in the Academic Catalog – Denial of Transfer Credit, in order to maintain quality standards.
USF Sarasota-Manatee assumes responsibility for the academic quality of any course work or credit recorded on the institution’s transcript. Registration and Records documents the extent and quality of students’ formal learning experiences and maintains an accurate and complete record of courses completed, transfer credit accepted, and grades awarded for student academic performance. Additional information on the institution’s responsibility for the quality of academic programs is provided in Core Requirement 2.7.2 (Program Content).
USF Sarasota-Manatee typically accepts transfer credit from institutions accredited by one of the six Regional Institutional Accrediting Associations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education at the time the credits were earned. All credits earned during the period of time a regionally accredited institution was in “candidacy” status for accreditation are considered for transfer credit after the institution is accredited. Credits earned at an institution that is currently in “candidacy” status are not considered for transfer credit until the awarding institution receives regional accreditation. However, course credit received from non-regionally accredited institutions that has been specifically approved by the Florida Statewide Course Numbering System (SCNS) may also be considered for transfer credit (Florida Statute 1007.24 Section 7, SCNS Report on Courses at Nonregionally Accredited Institutions).
Undergraduate Transfer Credit
Admissions is responsible for the receipt and evaluation of transfer credits working closely with faculty, deans, and academic advisors. Faculty members in the college of the student’s major determine which transfer courses are applicable toward the degree and assign equivalent USF Sarasota-Manatee courses to the transcript. The information in the Academic Catalog on Transfer Credit Evaluation is in keeping with USF System Regulation 3.018, Admission to Baccalaureate Programs of University of South Florida System Institutions.
In addition, USF Sarasota-Manatee adheres to the SCNS policies in Florida Statute 1007.24. All passed courses from a Florida College System or State University System (SUS) institution bearing the same State Common Course prefix and last three numbers as a USF Sarasota-Manatee course are automatically transferred, and transfer students may not be required to repeat these courses (BOG Webpage on Transfer Credit; Academic Catalog Transfer Credits for SCNS Courses) with some exclusions.
At the undergraduate level, academic advisors check for existing course equivalencies through the Florida SCNS Database. If the advisors do not find a match in the SCNS, then they review the course description, catalog, syllabus, and other supporting documentation in consultation with the appropriate college dean to determine if the course is equivalent to a course or requirement in the student’s program of study. The advisors may also consult the College Source Transfer Evaluation System to determine equivalencies. The grade-point average (GPA) for admission is computed on grades in courses that are acceptable for transfer credit, as outlined above.
Florida Statute 1007.23 mandates a Statewide Articulation Agreement between the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors (BOG) that facilitates ” the seamless articulation of student credit across and among Florida’s educational entities.” Florida Statute 1007.24 and Florida Statute 1007.25 also provide for statewide course numbers and general education requirements. BOG Regulation 6.004 (Admission of Undergraduate, Degree-Seeking Transfer Students), regulates the transfer of Florida State College System Institutions to baccalaureate programs within Florida’s State University System (SUS). Every associate in arts (AA) graduate of a Florida state college or community college has met all General Education Requirements upon transferring to USF Sarasota-Manatee. AA graduates are awarded at least 60 credit hours toward the baccalaureate degree, exclusive of occupational courses and basic, required physical education courses.
In accordance with Florida Statute 1007.27, Articulated Acceleration Mechanisms, USF Sarasota-Manatee accepts Advanced Placement Program examination (AP), International Baccalaureate examination (IB), and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credit with approved scores. Students may earn credits through any one or through a combination of the above options. CLEP credits have a 45-hour maximum for transfer credit. Up to 30 credits may be granted for Military Credit toward a degree. As stated in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.8 (Noncredit to Credit), USF Sarasota-Manatee does not award academic credit for experiential learning, professional certificates, or course work that is determined to be occupational or vocational in nature. Students have the right to appeal through USF Sarasota-Manatee Admissions in collaboration with the Colleges and to the Statewide Articulation Coordinating Committee, if they feel that the University has incorrectly evaluated their transfer credits.
A continuously enrolled USF Sarasota-Manatee degree-seeking student must obtain prior written approval from the college of the student’s major in order to have courses taken at other regionally accredited institutions applied to the USF Sarasota-Manatee degree program (See Transfer Credit Approval).
Graduate Transfer Credit
The Graduate Policies and Regulations section of the Academic Catalog contains Credit Transfer Policies and Procedures. At the graduate level, students may request a transfer of credit toward their degree program. For transfer credit consideration, each course must have been completed with a “B” or better from a regionally accredited institution and approved by the appropriate college. Credit for coursework expires seven (7) years after receiving the credit. There is no time limitation for courses from a completed master’s degree or professional degree applied toward a doctoral degree. Faculty in the graduate degree program are responsible for evaluating, approving, and initiating the transfer as soon as possible following admission.
International Transfer Credit
On a course-by-course basis, students who have attended an international post-secondary institution must have their credentials translated and officially evaluated by an independent evaluation service. The student pays the associated costs (Academic Catalog, International). Information about recommended and approved independent evaluators is available from the Admissions website about credential evaluation services. Academic advisors, in consultation with the appropriate dean or faculty, if necessary, award transfer credit after reviewing the official recommendation of the evaluation service. However, USF Sarasota-Manatee reserves the right to deny the transfer of courses that it would not transfer in the same manner from a domestic institution.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION AND EVIDENCE