While a new bill in the Indiana Senate would streamline the transfer process at state universities, it has not caused Butler University to reevaluate its transfer policies.
If passed, Senate Bill 182 would create statewide standards that would require all state schools to adopt a common course numbering system and give priority in admissions to a student who holds an associate degree over an out-of-state applicant.
The bill would also require state-funded institutions to have at least 30 “general education” credit hours that are compatible with the curriculum at any state school, making a two-year associate degree from any state school acceptable as credit toward a bachelor’s degree at another state university.
Associate Provost Mary Macmanus Ramsbottom said this is a common practice and legislation like this has been enacted elsewhere.
She also said she believes the bill would have no weight on the private institutions like Butler, since course equivalency becomes an issue.
“The faculty is the gate-keeper with respect to quality of the course and making sure the credits that are awarded are equivalent to Butler credits,” she said. “They are helping to ensure a Butler degree is a degree of integrity. I think we really show a fair amount of flexibility with respect to the number of transfer credit hours coming in.”
Freshman Erin Hankel, a Ball State University student who contemplated transferring after her first semester, said there were many factors she weighed when deciding where to apply.
“I want to know if the program is good for my major, if it’s going to be expensive, if I have friends there and if the food is good,” she said. “But credits are obviously important too.”
Hankel said the bill would motivate her to choose a state school first, but it wouldn’t prevent her from looking at private schools, too.
Not all transfer experiences are negative.
Sophomore Sarah Jacobsma transferred twice without a hitch. Jacobsma completed a semester at Butler, transferred to Indiana University Northwest and then decided to be a Bulldog again.
“I didn’t want to spend $40,000 taking education classes, so I went home, took some classes there, then transferred back,” she said. “Everything transferred back nicely. My science class even counted for my science requirement here.”
Although Jacobsma and Hankel experienced different transfer issues, both students said they considered Butler for the same reason: it felt like home.
“I missed home my first semester,” Jacobsma said. “But being at home sucked, and I realized I missed Butler more. “When people transfer to a university, it’s because they’re looking for the right fit,” transfer student Luke Bunting said.
Bunting, a sophomore political science major, said with or without the bill, the transfer process may always be a difficult transition.
“It’s hard to make friends, because people have already solidified their friend group,” Bunting said. “If you know someone who has transferred, open your arms to them and try to get to know them, because it’s a tough time.”