University of Alaska Anchorage Joins Groundbreaking College Transfer Network

April 4, 2019    University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) becomes the 30th institution across 12 states to join the Interstate Passport Network (IPN), a nationwide network of two- and four-year colleges and universities that allows students to transfer lower-division general education credits as a block to any member institution.

For decades, the complexities of transferring colleges have been daunting and persistent: each course being transferred must be linked, one at a time, with an equivalent course at the new school. This painstaking process costs colleges and students time and money. Students frequently lose credit for courses that do not transfer as expected or have to retake similar courses to fulfill slightly different requirements at the new college. When dealing with the extra time and expense, too many students—especially low-income and first-generation students—get discouraged and give up on college.

Interstate Passport’s block transfer program is based on a set of learning outcomes, rather than individual courses. Students who complete their institution’s designated set of lower-division general education coursework earn a “Passport”: assuring that this coursework will be accepted as completion of general education at all IPN member institutions and minimizing the uncertainty that often accompanies a student’s transfer to a new institution, especially one in a different state. Interstate Passport is administered by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) a regional higher-ed compact serving Alaska and 15 other state and territorial members in the American West.

“UAA is proud to be the first institution in Alaska to join the Interstate Passport Network,” said Chancellor Cathy Sandeen. “This is an important step in promoting greater student success. It will benefit students by allowing them to transfer to UAA without losing General Education credits, and it will benefit UAA students transferring to member institutions. Because the Community College of the Air Force is a member of the Interstate Passport Network, it will better serve UAA’s incoming military and veteran populations as well.”

UAA is the largest accredited institution in the state, with urban and community campuses serving about 17,000 students. It was created in 1987 following a statewide reorganization that merged the institution with several community colleges. UAA is committed to providing instructional quality at all academic levels, helping students succeed regardless of their higher education goals, and providing service to the peoples and communities of a very large and diverse state. The mission of UAA is to discover and disseminate knowledge through teaching, research, engagement, and creative expression. Located in Anchorage and on community campuses in Southcentral Alaska, UAA is committed to serving the higher education needs
of the state, its communities, and its diverse peoples. UAA is an open-access university with academic programs leading to occupational endorsements; undergraduate and graduate certificates; and associate, baccalaureate and graduate degrees in a rich, diverse and inclusive environment.

“We’re delighted to welcome University of Alaska Anchorage as a member of the Interstate Passport Network, said Patricia Shea, director of academic leadership initiatives at WICHE. “UAA’s proximity to the Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson is particularly beneficial to servicemen seeking to earn a Passport. Already member institutions have awarded over 25,000 Passports since the network’s launch in 2016. Students who earn a Passport and transfer to another network member institution know in advance that their lower-division general education requirements will be met. As the Interstate Passport Network grows, we expect to see more transfer students motivated to complete their degrees.”

In today’s increasingly mobile society, more and more students transfer multiple times during their academic careers. According to the National Student Clearinghouse’s Signature Report 15 published in 2018, nearly four in 10 students transfer during their college career, and more than one in four of those move to schools in different states. That means that nationwide, hundreds of thousands of students stand to benefit from the Interstate Passport Network once it is fully implemented.

For more on the Interstate Passport, visit