Credit When It’s Due: Food for the Journey

Good things are happening! Ohio just won a $500,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation for the Credit When It’s Due Initiative!

The Credit When It’s Due Initiative has 12 states and multiple funders seeking to increase the “reverse award” of associate degrees to students who transferred from a two-year institution to a four-year university and earned the relevant credit for an associate degree en route to a bachelor’s degree. I was happy to be involved in writing this grant and look forward to working with Ohio’s colleges and universities so that more students get the degrees they deserve.

For many students, especially adult learners, the road to a college degree is a complicated journey. The Credit When It’s Due Initiative can be food for this journey– awarding a credential  to students by pairing credits from the community college and university to award an associate degree. There are many real challenges for students: balancing work, family, and school; scraping up enough financial aid without creating too much of a debt burden; transferring between schools and programs; and keeping confident that you can get a degree. There are thousands of students in Ohio who are so close to a degree- they have 45 credits from a community college, transferred to a university, but have no official degree in hand. With  just one more semester at the university, these students could be eligible for associate degree.  About half of the students fitting this description are over 25 years old– adults who need to know that their efforts are not in vain, particularly if the storms of life strike and they need to stop out of college or they need a confidence boost to keep going amidst trials to obtain a bachelor’s degree and more. Awarding an associate degree to students who acquired the required credits, even though a student may still be pursuing a bachelor’s degree, is a meaningful milestone and recognizes the work put in by students.

Congratulations again to the Ohio Board of Regents and participating colleges and universities. In the next two years, I hope to hear many congratulations to thousands of graduates with college degrees in hand.

For more information on Credit When It’s Due, visit

Calista H. Smith

About Calista H. Smith

Calista H. Smith , president of C H Smith & Associates, leads the firm in its work to provide data-driven management consulting and program evaluation services. . Calista specializes in strategic planning, project management, initiative implementation, process facilitation, stakeholder engagement, and program evaluation. A certified project management professional (PMP) with a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Calista applies best practices from the for-profit and non-profit sectors to the organization's services.
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