Beyond Transfer Policy Advisory Board (PAB)

Last Updated: 04/25/2024

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Funded by ECMC and facilitated by SOVA, the Beyond Transfer Policy Advisory Board (PAB) was launched in 2020 to advance the work of dismantling inequitable credit mobility and transfer policies. The Beyond Transfer PAB continues the work of the Tackling Transfer Policy Advisory Board, building upon the research and practices developed in earlier related initiatives.


The Tackling Transfer initiative (September 2015 – December 2021), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, included Columbia University Community College Research Center (CCRC), Public Agenda, the Aspen Institute, the Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the John N. Gardner Institute, and Achieving the Dream.

The goals of Tackling Transfer were:

  1. to build urgency for improving transfer outcomes using evidence to make the policy and business case;
  2. to publish and disseminate evidence-based tools for improving practice;
  3. to implement a multiyear plan to change practice and policy in the field.

Phase 1 (2015 – 2017) of Tackling Transfer saw the partnered organizations promoting widespread adoption of high-impact strategies for improving community college bachelor’s degree completion. Resources produced include a several publications, playbook, a self-assessment tool, a leadership curriculum module, a communications plan, and a state and sectoral engagement plan.

Phase 2 (2018 – 2021) of Tackling Transfer was led by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, HCM Strategists, and SOVA, and incorporated policy, practice, research, and strategic communications from across the country, primarily from Minnesota, Texas, and Virginia. Additional research and tools were developed and disseminated by the Tackling Transfer Policy Advisory Board (PAB).

The Tackling Transfer Policy Advisory Board became the Beyond Transfer Policy Advisory Board (PAB) with the launch of the Beyond Transfer initiative in 2020. Funder ECMC has partnered with SOVA to align previous programs, such as ECMC’s Catalyzing Transfer Initiative (CTI), with this new initiative.

Beyond Transfer Policy Advisory Board

Launched in 2020, the Beyond Transfer Policy Advisory Board (PAB) is comprised of 12 practitioners committed to equity and well-versed in transfer and credit mobility. The Board’s mission is to dismantle inequitable policies and practices related to credit transfer. The PAB’s work goes beyond traditional transfer efforts, to center students and the recognition of their learning as they transfer across institutions and move through their varied lived, work, and learning experiences beyond high school.

Examples of PAB’s early work:

  • Published three opinion editorials in summer 2020 in national media outlets that target higher education leaders and policymakers, including Diverse Issues in Higher EducationThe Hill, and Route Fifty.
  • Served as expert panelists and presenters during Inside Higher Ed’s fall 2020 webcast series entitled “Can We Finally Fix Transfer?
  • Contributing to the Beyond Transfer blog, hosted by Inside Higher Ed, where they share insights regularly.
  • Provided recommendations for state, system and federal policy changes aimed to produce equitable outcomes for today’s learners (The Transfer Reset: Rethinking Equitable Policy for Today’s Learners)
  • Deepened the impact of the Transfer Reset findings via Inside Higher Ed, multiple podcasts and presentations such as the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, Lumina Foundation Strategy Labs, SHEEO Network, and National Association of System Heads.
  • Encouraged use of the TransferBOOST Affordability Financial Tool, which helps colleges and universities assess the potential of increased pipeline enrollments by students who transfer, evaluate the expenditures and resources needed to provide improved student supports, and calculate the potential ROI to colleges and universities of increased enrollment, retention and completion. HCM Strategists and the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) collaborated to develop TransferBOOST with funding from ECMC.

In 2022, the PAB focused on two key topics:

  • Opportunities and limits of engaging accreditors in transfer reform
  • Impact of student- and institution-facing financial incentives on improved credit mobility and equity in outcomes for students who transfer.

Management / Partners

Work is facilitated by Sova, a higher education consultancy firm that partners with higher education systems and institutions, associations, and philanthropies to achieve large-scale change through actionable strategy and practical implementation support.

Partners include  HCM Strategists, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), and WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)


ECMC Foundation


Affordability Disconnects: Understanding Student Affordability in the Transfer and Credit Mobility Era (Feb 2023) - PDF

Catalyzing Transfer Initiative (CTI) | Learn & Work Ecosystem Library

Tackling Transfer Phase 1 Publications and Presentations

Tackling Transfer Phase 2 Research and Tools

Tackling Transfer Report: Beyond Articulation Agreements: Five Student-Centered Principles to Improve Transfer (2020) - PDF

Unpacking Financial Disincentives: Why and How They Stymie Degree-Applicable Credit Mobility and Equitable Transfer Outcomes (Feb 2023) - PDF

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