News & Events / IHEP Celebrates the Reintroduction of the CREATE Graduates Act

IHEP Celebrates the Reintroduction of the CREATE Graduates Act

Published Dec 10, 2021

Washington, DC (December 10, 2021) – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-BA), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Correctly Recognizing Educational Achievements To Empower (CREATE) Graduates Act. 

In response to the reintroduction of this evidence-based, equity-driven completion bill, IHEP’s president and CEO, Mamie Voight, issued the following statement:   

“Higher education is a path to a better living and a better life – but only if students are able to complete college and earn a degree of value. The United States is home to 36 million adults with some college credit, but no awarded degree. Amidst COVID-induced enrollment declines, the support the CREATE Graduates Act will provide institutions to reengage adult learners is especially critical. 

“Today’s students stop out from college for myriad reasons, including navigating complex college processes like course selection, degree planning, and transfer, balancing work and family obligations, and covering unforeseen expenses. These barriers to completion loom largest for students who have been historically underserved in our higher education system, including students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, and first-generation college students.  

“Our research has shown that in many of these cases, students leave higher education having completed enough credits to earn a credential, but may not be aware of their eligibility, while others leave only a handful of credits short of the completion finish line. By leaving stranded credits or unclaimed credentials on the table, students miss out on the benefits that a college credential can confer. Through our partnerships with institutions, we know that colleges want to reengage students who have stopped out, but that this work often requires additional capacity – human, technological, and financial – and cooperation with other institutions and within systems.  

“The CREATE Graduates Act will provide grants to help institutions identify students who have stopped out from higher education, reengage and reenroll students, and help students cross the degree completion finish line. The bill will encourage more institution-to-institution reverse credit transfers and empower institutions to work together to remove barriers to completion for students who have earned a significant number of credits.  

“We thank Sens. Casey, Booker, Kaine, and Cardin for reintroducing this legislation to help institutions remove barriers to retention, completion, and reenrollment, to ensure that students receive credit for all of their hard work, and to promote degree and credential attainment across the country.” 

Through its nationwide completion initiative Degrees When Due, IHEP works with over 190 institutions in 23 states to reengage stopped-out students and award earned degrees through reverse credit transfer. As part of this work, IHEP created the Degree Mining Tool, a free resource to help institutions identify students with earned, but unawarded degrees or credentials.  

IHEP has published a set of equity-driven recommendations for reengaging stopped out students, including through reverse credit transfer, in our report, The Potential of Degree Reclamation: A Path to Reclaiming the Nation’s Unrecognized Students and Degrees, and highlighted promising examples of community-based efforts to scale reverse credit transfer policies in our brief, Innovative Strategies to Close Postsecondary Attainment Gaps: Reclaiming Earned Degrees Through Reverse Transfer.