Northern Michigan University has increased the number of credit hours students can transfer from regionally accredited community colleges from 64 to 90. The recently approved policy change will go into effect this fall. It recognizes the value of students’ past academic work at other institutions and aligns with the statewide initiative to create better transfer pathways that maximize the use of credits earned.
“This change will have a big impact,” said NMU Registrar Kim Rotundo. “The longstanding 64-credit limit was established because it represented half of the credits required for a bachelor’s degree. But because the role of community colleges has evolved beyond offering coursework appropriate only for the first and second year of a student’s education, Northern has increased the limit to prevent students from losing credits they have already earned. As long as they complete a minimum of 30 credits from NMU and meet the degree requirements, they will be able to graduate.”
Many community colleges have expanded the scope and depth of their program offerings through partnerships with universities. When the previous policy was in place, several NMU academic departments developed or were planning to develop articulation agreements that allowed up to 90 transfer credits instead of 64. Rather than restrict the benefit to specific majors, the policy change enables NMU to apply it equitably to all transfer students.
The across-the-board increase will also improve efficiency. For students who exceeded the former 64-credit limit, NMU reviewed their records to select the courses most applicable to the students’ degree requirements. The process was repeated if students changed their majors. Rotundo said the 90-credit limit prevents the need to pick and choose which completed courses NMU will accept.
On a related note, the university no longer requires that at least 20 of a student’s final 30 credits be completed at NMU.
“There were students who had accumulated more than 100 credits who couldn’t earn a degree based on that arbitrary rule,” Rotundo said. “The rationale for removing that is that there may be life circumstances requiring students to leave the area, such as getting married or being deployed with the military, and that shouldn’t preclude them from graduating. So now, they only need to earn a minimum of 30 credits from NMU and meet degree requirements to graduate.”
For transfer student information, visit nmu.edu/transfer.