In 2006, AcademyOne was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to help fulfill a legislative mandate for more seamless college transfer among the state’s public institutions, including 14 four-year universities and all 14 community colleges. Over the years, nine state-related and private institutions also opted to join the effort, bringing the number of participating institutions to 37. The project occurred in two discrete phases.
AcademyOne supplied its workflow and publishing software, the Course Equivalency Management Center (CEMC), which enabled each of the institutions to propose, evaluate and create equivalencies for at least 30 credits of foundational courses guaranteed to transfer in any direction between and among the other participating institutions. By enrolling in these foundation courses, called the Transfer Credit Framework, students are able to earn the equivalent of one full year of transferable college study.
This phase included the development and implementation of Pennsylvania's Transfer and Articulation Center (PA TRAC) web portal based upon the PDE’s requirements. The site was launched in May 2008, giving users unprecedented access to transfer credit equivalencies, information on the participating institutions and step-by-step instructions for changing schools. For the first time, students and their advisors were able to easily evaluate how previous and future coursework could be applied toward a degree, identify their best transfer pathways and avoid courses that won’t count towards graduation.
During the first two years alone, the PDE reported a 13% increase in the number of students transferring from community colleges to the four-year state system universities, as well as a 9% increase in the total number of credits transferred. Most dramatically, the credits transferred in 2009 alone saved students nearly $35.4 million in credit transfer taxes—or the cost of repeated coursework.
In early 2013, the PDE extended its seven-year partnership with AcademyOne to continue supporting its responsibilities for improving transfer and articulation across the state of Pennsylvania.
PA TRAC was enhanced in August 2013 to include the Will My Credits Transfer (WMCT) tool with the hopes that more students would create – and benefit from – user accounts. WMCT was developed to help students explore their best transfer options based upon the transferability of their previous and planned coursework to another institution. WMCT allows users to compile their complete academic history, including assessments, within minutes.
In October 2013, PA TRAC was redesigned to be mobile responsive. With the use of mobile technology growing rapidly, PDE and AcademyOne worked together to redesign the site so that students, faculty and advisors would have the best possible online experience, regardless of their device, browser, screen size or orientation. Since the redesign launch, PA TRAC’s new navigation has resulted in visitors staying longer and viewing more information on the site, with a 35% increase in the average length of a visit and 42% increase in the average number of pages viewed during a visit compared to the same timeframe the year prior. PA TRAC has also seen a 33% increase in the number of tablet visitors and a 27% increase in the number of mobile phone visitors over the same timeframe the year prior.
For more information, please read our most recent press release.
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AcademyOne is a consulting and software development firm working in the higher education sphere. We deliver industry-leading solutions to states and institutions who wish to improve student retention and degree completion rates, especially among the growing population of nontraditional learners.