USC Aiken students gain personal fulfillment and resume enhancement through reverse transfer opportunity

The University of South Carolina Aiken is offering transfer students a unique opportunity to increase the number of credentials they hold, provided they meet certain requirements. Called a reverse transfer agreement, the program allows students who have transferred from a participating two-year institution to complete their academic programs and earn an associate degree after transferring to USC Aiken.

Under the program, participating students agree to have their academic information shared with their previous institution through the National Student Clearinghouse. That institution determines whether the student has completed the requirements to earn the degree, with USC Aiken serving as the connection point for communicating the student's courses and grades. Once the evaluation of the transfer credit is complete and degree requirements are confirmed, then the credential is issued and the student is notified.

Dr. Stacie Williams, Director of Transfer Student Initiatives and Services, assists students with this process. "We call it a retroactive degree-granting opportunity," she says. "It's a new opportunity for students to pursue a bachelor's degree while at the same time pursuing credits to earn their associate degree."

The program is beneficial for students like Samuel Demedicis, an Aiken native who enrolled in Aiken Technical College (ATC) out of high school to complete his general education requirements and determine a major. However, he transferred to USC Aiken for the Fall 2020 semester before completing the requirements for his Associate of Arts degree. The reverse transfer agreement program was subsequently launched in January 2022 by the USC Aiken Transfer Center and Division of Enrollment Management, initially as a partnership with Aiken Technical College.

Demedicis graduated in December and is the university's first reverse transfer student, holding both an Associate of Arts from Aiken Technical College and a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a concentration in vocal studies from USC Aiken. He plans to earn his teaching certificate and pursue a career in music education.

"For me, this boiled down to validating the two years I spent at Aiken Technical College," Demedicis says. "It has taken five-and-a-half years to earn my bachelor's, so this was my way of reinforcing my time at ATC and having a sense of pride in what I accomplished there."

When the program was announced in January 2022, nearly 130 students requested consideration for reverse transfer. Since that time, interest in the program has grown to more than 500 students, with some having transferred from other participating institutions around the country.

Williams explains, "Not all institutions across the country participate, but if a student applies to the program and consents to having their information shared, we will facilitate that process by sharing their completed courses and grades. We hope more students will soon earn their associate degrees. Sam was the first, but we believe many more are coming."

Williams believes that USC Aiken's reverse transfer agreement provides students with an added sense of personal fulfillment as they work to achieve their higher education goals, in addition to enhanced employment opportunities.

"If a student begins studies for an associate degree but for some reason cannot stay at that institution, this process allows them to finish what they started," she says. "Depending on where they are working, this could also mean a pay raise or opportunity for advancement before their four-year degree is complete. It offers a great sense of personal fulfillment."

For more information, contact Leigh Thomas,