Certain general education courses are now guaranteed to transfer
to any public two-year or four-year college or university in
Colorado, due to a newly instituted program by the Colorado
Commission on Higher Education.
A bill passed in 2001 created a committee to develop the
statewide guaranteed transfer program in order to assist students
in transferring from one Colorado school to another, and to
streamline the general education requirements throughout the state,
said Joan Ringel, spokesperson for the CCHE.
While the statewide program does not affect the general
education requirements of an individual school, such as CSU’s
All-University Core Curriculum, it does attempt to remove some
transfer barriers, according to the CCHE Web site,
After comparing general education requirements at schools across
the state, the commission established a list of more than 300
courses in 11 categories such as mathematics, literature and
humanities, history and physical and life sciences.
If a student completed any of the approved courses offered by
their school in the spring of 2003 or later, with a grade of C
minus or better, those courses are guaranteed to transfer as
fulfilling general education requirements at any other school in
the state, rather than possibly transferring only as elective
credits or not at all.
The commission established criteria for each subject area, and
colleges and universities could then submit their own general
education courses for approval, based on those criteria.
“The idea is that if you take English at a community college or
the (Colorado) School of Mines, you know the curriculum is the
same, even if the syllabus is a little different,” Ringel said.
CSU currently has 19 courses approved for guaranteed transfer in
seven out of the 11 categories. In comparison, the Colorado
Community College System offers 55 courses in all 11 categories,
Fort Lewis College in Durango also has courses approved in 11
categories, and the University of Northern Colorado fulfills
The University of Colorado-Boulder’s and Colorado Springs’
campuses cover seven categories each, and CU’s Denver campus covers
The categories that CSU does not have courses approved for are
history, economic and political systems, geography and introduction
“Because we’re a four-year institution we don’t have that lower
level of (composition),” said Provost Kevin Oltjenbruns. “We simply
don’t teach them.”
As for the other categories, Oltjenbruns said CSU submitted
courses for approval.
“Our faculty … really, in fact, thought they would meet the
criteria and be passed,” she said. “It wasn’t that we don’t believe
in the system or that we didn’t submit everything we had to the
Ringel, however, said CSU’s courses did not meet the established
criteria for approval. “Because CSU’s courses in history and
(political science) are so large … when they were nominated …
the feeling of the committee was that they would not meet the
competency level in writing,” she said.
Ringel and Oltjenbruns both stressed that simply because a
course is not approved for guaranteed transfer, it does not mean it
will not be accepted by another school.
“Our courses do still transfer, even if they’re not state
guaranteed,” Oltjenbruns said. “We’ve never had trouble with
schools denying our classes for transfer.”
Currently, Oltjenbruns does not expect CSU to change the
structure of any AUCC courses in order to seek CCHE approval.
“I think because we have built our core (curriculum) on
competencies ourselves … we don’t want to necessarily alter our
core by wanting to simply get them accepted,” she said.
“If we believed our students were at all in jeopardy by not
having them accepted, then the faculty council might consider
(modifying the courses), but our students are not in jeopardy of
them not transferring,” Oltjenbruns said.
Part of the passed bill said all schools in the state must
publish a list of the approved courses. CSU’s current course
catalogue briefly explains the guaranteed transfer program.
Courses that are approved are designated with a GT (guaranteed
transfer) subcode in the courses of instruction listings. The
catalogue directs students to the CCHE Web site for more
“That basically was all we knew we needed to do,” said Waneta
Boyce, Provost and Academic Vice President in the Curriculum and
Catalogue department, who is responsible for updating the CSU
catalogue. “I’m planning on keeping it the same way unless I get
instructions from the Provost’s Office to change it.”
Ringel said this notation is acceptable, and that “students
should be directed to the commission’s list.”
Associate Registrar Shelly Loomis said the registrar’s office is
“working to put a code on our transcripts to show they are state
guaranteed and we hope to have that done by the spring of
Oltjenbruns said once the university has established a system of
designating the guaranteed transfer courses on student transcripts,
they will add it to CSU’s Web site to include the CCHE list.
“I think what we’ll probably do in the catalogue is … say ‘go
to this Web site,'” Oltjenbruns said. “I think because it changes
so rapidly, we’re going to have to go the Web site route to keep it
However, Oltjenbruns is convinced that the university will make
the list more accessible to students as soon as possible.
“Absolutely we are legally mandated (to publish the list), but
more importantly we just should be doing it for our students,” she
said. “If we have info that they can’t get to, that’s not a good