State Transfer Policy Standards Project


States must adopt an equity-focused approach to transfer policies to address racial equity gaps and make progress toward attainment goals in postsecondary education. State higher education agencies should assess transfer performance based on race and income and establish standards for creating equitable transfer policies. Recognizing this need, the State Higher Education Executive Offers Association (SHEEO), in partnership with the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education (Gardner Institute), and with support from the ECMC Foundation, initiated a three-year project on state transfer policy standards. The project aimed to develop processes and standards for evaluating transfer performance by race and income and disseminate them to the larger field. The project aligns with SHEEO’s commitment to equitable education and emphasizes the importance of efficient and fair transfer pathways in achieving attainment and workforce alignment objectives.


SHEEO agencies play a crucial role in creating an equitable and student-centered transfer ecosystem. SHEEO agencies can foster transfer policy discussions that go beyond administrative aspects and facilitate deeper conversations on equity, data, and student-centered approaches.


Member Involvement

To support state and system-level improvements in transfer outcomes, SHEEO launched the State Transfer Policy Standards Project. SHEEO and the Gardner Institute worked with four states—Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington—on an intensive self-study process. These states were chosen for their diverse student populations, institutional types, and governance models. The central goal of the self-study process was to assess how well transfer systems within those states were working for students of color and low-income students. Findings from the self-study were used to develop action plans to create more efficient and equitable transfer systems within the state. To facilitate this process, SHEEO drew upon its models for working with state teams and providing technical assistance and implementation support; the Gardner Institute adapted the Foundations of Excellence Transfer process to provide valuable insights at the state level.