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How Missouri is making it easier to transfer college credits

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth
St. Louis Public Radio
CORE 42 aims to make it easier for students to transfer general education credits from community colleges to public four-year universities in Missouri.

A new curriculum aims to simplify how students transfer general education credits from a Missouri community college into one of the state’s four-year public universities so that students don't have to retake general education courses.

CORE 42 was approved earlier this month by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education and will go into effect next fall.

The curriculum gives students who plan to transfer the opportunity to take a minimum of 42 credit hours of general education courses that will be accepted by all of Missouri’s public higher-learning institutions.

There are more than 2,000 courses available in the curriculum that meet common general education requirements, such as introduction to psychology and sociology, composition 1 and 2, and college algebra. Rusty Monhollon, the assistant commissioner for academic affairs with the Missouri Department of Higher Education, said the classes will be clearly labeled if a student opts to take CORE 42.

“We’ve created a statewide number for each course,” Monhollon said. “So we use the prefix MOTR for Missouri transfer and then the discipline prefix.”

Alan D. Heisel is a professor of communication in media at the University of Missouri St. Louis and was part of the committee that helped craft CORE 42. Heisel said the new curriculum will give students the upper hand.

“Let's say you’ve got 36 hours of the gen eds done at St. Louis Community College. When you transfer into UMSL, you only have to take those last six credit hours and you’ll complete the CORE 42,” Heisel said.

Anyone attending a public higher-learning institution can use the CORE 42 curriculum. However, Heisel said it is ideal for a student transferring from a community college to a larger learning institution without missing a beat.

“Basically it creates a parallel pathway that allows students to progress and complete their undergraduate general education at any institution — public two-year or four-year — in the state of Missouri,” he said.

Prior to CORE 42, students often had to retake additional general education courses after transferring from a community college into a university.

Monhollon said the state does not track how many credits have been lost due to non-transferable credits, but he estimates that students who transfer from a community college end up taking an additional five to 10 credit hours.

“There are possibly any number of things that could account for that,” Monhollon said, “but even it’s only three credits additionally, that could be several hundred dollars for a student, and it’s their money.”

The CORE 42 curriculum meets the general education requirements for the majority of liberal arts and sciences degrees. However, there are different general education requirements for those pursuing degrees in education, engineering and nursing. The curriculum does not apply to students transferring from an independent learning institution into a public college or university in Missouri.

Follow Marissanne on Twitter: @Marissanne2011

Marissanne is the afternoon newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.