Province announces online database for credit transfer

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As of Jan. 20, students across the province have one less worry when transferring between universities.

The Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT)’s new course-to-course database will be available online and allow students to see how their credentials from one university will carry over to another within the province.

Wilfrid Laurier University is one of the first universities to climb on board this initiative.

“Students have been asking for this for a while now,” said Brad Duguid, minister of training, colleges and universities within Ontario. “It moves Ontario from trying to make progress on the matter of credit transfers towards a state of the art system that allows students to see what’s available for them.”

Duguid said the basic premise of how the new database works is a student would input their credentials into the website and then could find what institutions would accept their completed credits.

“Years ago this would have been nowhere to be found, but now this allows students to save time and money by ensuring they would not need to repeat completed courses upon transferring to a new institution,” said Duguid.

Stephen Franchetto is the vice president of university affairs for Laurier’s Students’ Union, as well as the vice president of finance for the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA). He says the database is highly welcomed among Ontario universities.

“OUSA have been lobbying this for a while. This is a hugely valuable tool, because ten per cent of students will transfer between institutions. This is going to help ensure they make good choices when transferring.”

Franchetto went on to say that the database is ultimately about helping students with the transition.

“This is helping to ensure students are completing their degrees in a reasonable time. We don’t want them to tap into more financial assistance by having to re-take courses.”

However, Franchetto also pointed out some of the difficulties with the database for universities in its infancy.

“One of the difficulties will be when you’re dealing with highly specialized courses, especially at the senior level, that are linked closely to a professor’s research area, mapping it out with other institutions could prove challenging. There needs to be respect and consideration for institutional autonomy.”

Franchetto also pointed out that not all Ontario universities are a part of the database as of yet.

“Not everyone is on board. From the star t there is 15 of the 20 universities on board within the province. That’s still a good amount, but the goal is to get all post-secondary institutions on board. But as more students realize the potential of the database, we have no worries that the pressure will be put on those that didn’t join from the start.”

Minister Duguid also announced that one of the goals of the foreseeable future for the database is to map out virtually all first and second-year core courses and ensure they are transferable between all associated universities and colleges within the province.

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