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Lt. Gov. Simon promotes college completion efforts at NIU 

Transfer agreement aims at better jobs, higher wages for grads

MALTA – Jan. 24, 2014. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon joined Northern Illinois University (NIU) President Douglas Baker, Kishwaukee College President Tom Choice and other school officials on Friday to preside over the signing of an important reverse transfer agreement allowing Kishwaukee students to complete their associate degrees after transferring to NIU.

Simon has been a vocal advocate for college completion and recognized NIU’s reverse articulation program as a valuable way to help students attain better jobs and higher wages. Absent a reverse transfer agreement, students may rack up enough credits for an associate degree, but never get the diploma.            

“College pays off,” Simon said. “When students leave college with credits – but no credential – they are less prepared for the workforce and leave lifetimes of earnings on the table. This reverse transfer agreement is a student-centered reform that should be implemented at campuses across the state. I commend NIU and Kishwaukee for taking the lead.”            

According to a study released by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, associate degree holders are more likely to hold a job and earn higher incomes than high school graduates. On average, an associate degree-holder will earn $400,000 more than someone with a high school diploma over a lifetime, Georgetown reports.

Simon released her College Completion Playbook while hosting a two-day Scaling Up invitational conference in Bloomington in November. More than 150 higher education administrators from around the state received the guide on how to help more students complete college at less cost. The guide collects the effective practices of leading educators, national experts, faculty, administrators and other professionals. The playbook specifically noted NIU’s innovative work to streamline course credit transfers from one school to another.

Simon serves as the state's point person on education reform. In this capacity, Simon is working to increase the proportion of working-age adults with college degrees or certificates to 60 percent by 2025. She aims to make our state workforce prepared for the highly skilled jobs of the future to improve employment opportunities and ensure continued economic growth.