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Don't take no for an answer
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24th Apr, 2009 | Source : Distance Education and training Council

Don’t Take “No” for an Answer When Trying to Transfer Your Credits or Degree If you are trying to transfer your academic credits or degree to another college or university, and they refuse to accept them, don’t take “no” for an answer. Knowing how to state your case and presenting the right information may help you get positive results.

Acceptance of degrees or credits from DETC-accredited institutions is largely determined by the policy of the “receiving organization,” e.g., an employer, a college registrar, etc. Each institution has its own unique set of requirements. Accreditation is important, but no school can guarantee their
credits will transfer to another institution on the basis of the accreditation they hold. You should always check with the college or university you wish to transfer your credits or degree to before you invest time and money completing a course/degree program. And, it’s always a good idea to get the
transfer approval in writing from the receiving institution before you enroll.

There are several reasons a college or university may refuse to accept your transfer credits. None of these have anything to do with accreditation:

  • Course content doesn’t fit into the curriculum;
  • Poor grades (grades of “D” or “F” don’t transfer);
  • You already filled all of your elective credits;
  • You already reached the limit of transfer credits allowed by the college.

Institutions should analyze credit accepted for transfer in terms of level, content, quality,comparability, and degree program relevance. They should not, however, reject credits or refuse to evaluate a transcript based solely on the source of accreditation of the sending institution.

How to Transfer Credits

You’ve completed several courses at a DETC-accredited institution and now you want to transfer the credits to another college or university to complete your degree. You’ve checked to see what the transfer policies are and you’ve gotten a copy of your official transcript and looked it over to make certain all the grades are accurate and up-to-date. Here are your next steps:

1.Follow the correct transfer procedures. Fill out the correct college application. Be specific where the transcript needs to go when providing the receiving institution’s address.

2.Know the requirements. You should know: 1) what the core or general requirements are; 2) what the major departmental requirements are; and 3) if there are any residency requirements.

3.Complete the application on time. Neatness of any application does count. Double check deadlines, especially departmental deadlines.
4.Get in touch with the Registrar directly. Ask for a personal interview if possible. There may also be a transfer counselor you can contact.
5.Follow-up with the admissions office. You should not be shy about appealing a credit evaluation if credits are rejected. You might have to negotiate credit for each course you have taken. Get the e-mail address of the appropriate people and state your case forcefully.

Information Packet

In addition, sending an Information Packet with your application is very helpful. The Information Packet should include the following:

1. A cover letter explaining what you are sending (see example 1).
2. The “course syllabi” from the courses you have completed. If you don’t have copies, contact the institution where you completed the courses and they may be able to send them to you.
3. A copy of the school’s catalog with the courses you have taken clearly marked. Normally you can print this from the school’s web site.
4. Course Equivalency Chart (see example 2).
5. A “Projected Academic Program” chart. Compile this to demonstrate you are familiar with the receiving institution’s educational system (see example 3).
6. A recommendation letter from a former professor and/or instructor (see example 4)
7. A letter from the accrediting agency (DETC) (see example 5).

Degree Transferability

You’ve worked hard and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from a DETCaccredited university. You’re ready to earn an advanced degree and have applied for admission into a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program with a regionally-accredited university. The registrar at the university denies your application because you didn’t earn your degree from a regionally-accredited university. Now what do you do?

Usually you have several options:

1. Ask the admitting university if they have an appeal process and how to submit a formal appeal.

2. Ask the registrar for admission on provisional or probationary status. Often if you earn a certain GPA in the admitting university’s courses, you may be accepted into the program.

3. Contact the Department Dean to ask for an interview and be prepared to submit a portfolio of your work before a final decision is made.

4. If an institution gives credit for unaccredited course work, such as life or work experience, ask for the same review process for your accredited course work.

Explain to the registrar that the institution you received your degree from is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). See the information below concerning DETC’s recognition. Many times, registrars are not aware that DETC and regional accrediting agencies both meet the same standards required by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education

Other Facts

There may be times when the receiving institution is hesitant to accept your credits strictly because the credits are not from a “regionally” accredited institution. Here are some facts you need to make them aware of:

DETC’s National Recognitions: The DETC Accrediting Commission is listed (and has been since 1959) by the U.S. Department of Education as a “nationally recognized accrediting agency.” It is also a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). There are six regional accrediting agencies that are also recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Along with the DETC, these agencies are “institutional accreditors,” which accredit degree-granting institutions through distance education.

Like the regional accrediting agencies, the DETC Accrediting Commission is reviewed periodically by the U.S. Department of Education to make certain it meets the criteria for federal recognition as published in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations. These recognition criteria are the same for national as for regional accrediting agencies.

DETC and its accredited institutions are listed in the U.S. Department of Education’s database: The U.S. Department of Education also maintains a database that lists recognized accrediting agencies and the institutions they accredit. For the database of accrediting agencies and institutions,visit

DETC and its accredited institutions are listed in CHEA’s Database: You may want to check CHEA’s Web site at to see which accrediting agencies CHEA recognizes and the institutions they accredit.

Higher Education Transfer Alliance (HETA): CHEA also maintains the Higher Education Transfer Alliance (HETA), a voluntary group of more than 400 accredited institutions concerned with the importance of student mobility, enhancing success in transfer of credit, and affirming the responsibility and prerogative of individual institutions with respect to acceptance of transfer credits. HETA is a Web-based directory of colleges and universities open to all institutions accredited by an organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the United States Department of Education (USDE). Membership in HETA is entirely voluntary. HETA is not intended to, and will not constrain, institutional freedom or prerogatives with respect to acceptance of transfer credit. You may access the HETA directory at

If All Else Fails

Should all of your efforts fail to transfer your credits or get your degree accepted at the institution of your choice, you have other options:

  • Select another academic institution that will meet your needs and goals and apply to them. Going to an institution that participates in the Higher Education Transfer Alliance sponsored by CHEA increases the chances of credit acceptance.
  • Apply to another DETC-accredited distance institution that offers programs which meet your needs. You will have your credits or degree accepted at any of them.
  • Apply to another institution recognized by a “national” institutional accredited association.Visit for a listing of the six “national” accrediting groups. Institutions accredited by any of these six associations are committed to the principle that they will not reject credits or degrees based solely on the source of accreditation of the sending institution.

Most graduates of DETC-accredited institutions who attempt to transfer their credits or get their degrees accepted at another educational institution are successful. At least seven out of ten are reporting success in their quest for credit transfer.

The most common reason DETC credit is not accepted is the credit that is being transferred does not meet the prerequisites for the receiving institution’s program, i.e., the courses completed are not in the required fields of study or are not at the desired level of senior division study, etc.

You should always let someone at the granting institution know if you are having problems transferring your credits or degree. DETC and its institutions are more than happy to help you solve this problem.

In today’s world, distance learning institutions—like those accredited by DETC—are able to follow their students wherever they go in the world, so when a student relocates to another city or country, the DETC institution follows them. This takes one common reason for needing to transfer off the table. And in recent years, many DETC institutions have been offering advanced degrees at the Masters, First Professional and Professional Doctoral degree levels. If earning an advanced degree is your goal, you have dozens of accredited DETC institutions from which to choose, and your degree and credits will be accepted without question at any of them!

Sample 1. Cover Letter

Dear Ms. Counselor:

To aid in your review of my previous academic credits from the XYZ Institution, I’ve enclosed the following information:

1. Transcripts from previous attended universities and institutions (official transcripts will be sent directly from the granting institutions);
2. Syllabi of courses taken at XYZ Institution;
3. “Course Equivalency Chart” with a table of courses taken at various colleges which are comparable to courses at your institution;
4. Copies of the Course Catalog from previous colleges attended;
5. My “Projected Academic Program” while attending your institution;
6. A “Letter of Recommendation”; and
7. A letter from the agency that accredits the XYZ Institution.

Please call me if you need any further information. Thank you in advance for your review.


John Smith, Registrar

Sample 2. Course Equivalency Chart

Sample 3. Projected Academic Program

Sample 4. Recommendation Letter

To Whom It May Concern:

It is with great pleasure we recommend Mr. Michael Doe to your program. He completed his studies with us on September 1, 2008. His outstanding achievement indicates his ability and determination to advance in the electronics field. We believe Mr. Doe would be a valuable asset to your institution.

Mr. Doe enrolled in the Associate in Applied Science in Electronics Engineering Technology degree program on November 20, 2006. The XYZ Institute’s program is offered to both beginners and advanced students of electronics. Special emphasis is placed on advanced mathematical techniques to allow the student to make engineering-level calculations in circuit design. Calculus, transient analysis, and differential equations are familiar tools to the graduate
of this program.

I have known Mr. Doe for two years while teaching him many courses in electronics. His participation in advancing the material offered in the course was noted through his many suggestions and remarks.

I feel confident and proud to recommend Mr. Doe to advance his education with your institution. Please feel free to contact me at 232-232-2323 or e-mail me at [email protected] if you have any questions.

John Smith

Sample 5. Letter from Accrediting Agency

Dear Mr. Jones:

This letter is to certify the XYZ Institute, in Cleveland, OH, is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) and is a member in good standing. The XYZ Institute was first accredited in 2000 and was recently re-accredited in 2005. It has been found to meet or exceed the Commission’s published academic and ethical standards.

This means that the programs of instruction offered by this institution have been examined by independent objective subject matter experts and found to meet or exceed the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council’s published academic and ethical standards. These standards require the institution’s courses/programs to be equal to or better than a comparable course or degree program offered by a residential college or university accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

The DETC Accrediting Commission is listed (and has been since l959) by the U.S. Department of Education as a “nationally recognized accrediting agency.” It is also a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Like the regional accrediting agencies, the DETC Accrediting Commission is reviewed periodically by the U.S. Department of Education to make certain it meets the criteria for federal recognition as published in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations. This recognition criterion is the same for national and regional agencies.

For more information on these agencies and their databases, please visit their web sites:

- U.S. Department of Education:
- Council for Higher Education Accreditation:

For more information on distance education and the DETC, visit our web site at

Michael P. Lambert
Distance Education and Training Council



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Posted by Steve on 10th Aug 2009 09:57
just wondering what peoples experience with online learning is. i'm worried that its a lot of money to throw down on something that i may not have the time or the willpower to see through. i guess i would like to hear some inspiring stories :-)!
Posted by lene on 3rd Aug 2009 04:25
Good article
Good article
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