Transferring Transient College Credits

Students who enroll in another college or university to take summer or supplemental classes earn transient credits, which must be transferred carefully.

For an increasing number of students, simply taking classes during the traditional school year at one institution is not enough to earn a degree in four or five years. Taking summer classes or classes online through another college or university are options that are increasingly helping students complete their college degrees.

These credits are more officially known as transient credits, or credits earned for coursework completed at another college or university while enrolled in the student’s home institution. Transient credits differ from AP, PSEO, or transfer credits because these courses are taken with the intention of replacing coursework at another college or university. If a student does not pay special attention, however, it is possible that transient credits may not be applied to a degree plan as intended.

College creditsHow Transient Credits Work

Transient credits are awarded to students who are guests at a college or university. These classes are often taken as summer courses, online courses, or in other instances where a student cannot take traditional classes at his or her home school. A student usually must apply to both their guest institution and to their home school in order to become a transient student and must be able to explain how transient classes will be applied toward their college degree.

Depending upon the college or university, policies regarding how many of these credits can be taken and applied per term and overall vary. In general, a total of fifteen credits per academic year and fifty percent of the credits needed to complete the degree must be taken at the student’s home institution. If a student has questions, he or she should contact their registrar or registration and records office for more information.

Applying Transient Credits to a College Degree

Once a student has applied to a school as a transient student, he or she must be careful in selecting classes. Courses taken as a guest must closely follow those available at the student’s home institution, but they must have a reason as to why they are taking the class somewhere else. Even if not required by the student’s home school, clearing classes through the college or university registrar’s office is a good idea.

After completing transient course work, it is important to follow the proper procedure for applying the credits to a degree program. Some schools may have students present their work and a comparison to another course to a panel of school administrators, while others, such as St. Petersburg College, require that the student submit official transcripts in order to apply credits. Once the transcripts are received, credit and grades are applied appropriately.

Taking transient courses can help students complete their degree programs in a shorter amount of time or make it easier for students to complete summer classes. If not done properly and carefully, transient classes may do more harm than good for a student and his or her college career.