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Credit loss and lack of transparency around transfer policies and credit applicability can stymie a student’s journey to degree completion, prolonging graduation and increasing college costs. Often, students learn after transfer that many of the courses earned at one college are not accepted at their new institution, forcing them to repeat courses and limiting their opportunity to explore alternative career paths. Older students, first-generation students, lower-income students and students from historically marginalized communities face these challenges more acutely than others. Thus, improving transfer student outcomes and decreasing credit loss have become some of the most difficult challenges institutions of higher education face today.

To address these challenges directly, Ithaka S+R and the City University of New York began collaborating in 2019 on the Articulation of Credit Transfer (ACT) project to provide clear, accessible, and easy to understand information on the transfer process and credit applicability. An outcome of this collaboration is the groundbreaking CUNY Transfer Explorer (CUNY T-Rex), a public, student-supporting transfer tool that provides, in real time, transparent and clear information on how course credits and credits for prior learning (CPL) earned through trainings and exams transfer and apply across CUNY institutions. CUNY T-Rex provides students, and those who support them, with critical information to help them understand how current or future college courses apply to their intended major requirements to help them reach their goals. Since its launch in 2020, CUNY T-Rex has had over 110,000 unique users.

In January 2023, the ACT team and CUNY introduced several new features on CUNY T-Rex, which included a refreshed homepage, a student portal for CUNY students to access their transcript and explore how their courses are applied across CUNY colleges, and functionality to let users explore how course credits (from both CUNY and non-CUNY institutions) and CPL apply at various CUNY colleges and to major and minor requirements.

Today, we are pleased to announce the launch of additional new features that improve CUNY T-Rex’s capability and the transparency of credit transfer and transfer student outcomes:

Map credits to CUNY major requirements: This feature allows users to select a college and major, enter earned (or planned) courses and/or CPL experiences, and see which credits transfer and what is remaining to meet major requirements. This allows for enhanced exploration by allowing students to map hypothetical (or actual) paths to complete a major at CUNY.

Public-facing transfer information and outcomes leaderboards: A public dashboard accessible to all users on CUNY T-Rex with no log-in provides users with transfer student outcome and college performance metrics for each CUNY bachelor’s college, including:

  • The average (median) number of days between a student’s transfer application and the college’s decision to admit, as well as the median number of days between when a student commits to a college and the college’s evaluation of the student’s transcript for transfer credit,
  • Percentage of graduates that are transfer versus nontransfer students at each bachelor’s degree granting institution, filterable by field of study,
  • CUNY bachelor’s college residency requirements, and
  • Additional transfer performance metrics.

CUNY T-Rex help center: Multiple short video tutorials on how to use CUNY T-Rex.

The enhancements to CUNY T-Rex help make the transfer process a more informed one for current and prospective CUNY students and those who support them. Additional enhancements to the site are planned for 2023–24, including fully scaling the transfer plans feature to support early transfer planning.

CUNY T-Rex provides novel tools that make credit mobility for students a reality, catalyzing students’ progress to the college degrees they want and deserve. We are grateful to our funders of the ACT Project, Ascendium Education Group, ECMC Foundation, the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, the Heckscher Foundation for Children, the Ichigo Foundation, and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, for supporting this work.

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