Articulation Agreement

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Articulation Agreement

A Brief Introduction About the Articulation Agreement?

An articulation agreement is a formal agreement between two educational institutions whereby one institution agrees to accept certain credits that were earned by students at the other institution. The definition of articulation is the acceptance of courses conducted by one institution by another institution towards the fulfillment of one of its educational degrees. Universities enter into this agreement to facilitate the transfer of students and hence make sure that students will not have to repeat a course that they have already completed.

The courses that a student has completed and has earned credits will be evaluated, and such credits will be transferred to the other institution, thus helping the student to finish his degree in a shorter period of time. Such agreements have been known to result in a higher number of students graduating from college because of the ease of transfer.

An agreement of this kind that is developed at the state level is known as a “comprehensive articulation agreement.” Such an agreement is entered into between a state university and a community college.

The two major types of articulation agreements are “Transfer Credit Agreements” and “Course-to-Course Agreements.” In the first one, there is an agreement as to which courses will transfer for university credit and in the second one, there is an agreement to check if a course completed at one college can be accepted at another institution. These agreements may also be known as “transfer articulation agreements.”

Who Takes the Articulation Agreement?: People Involved

The parties involved in an articulation agreement are two educational institutions. One of the institutions under the agreement agrees to accept credits of students from the other institution. The institution which is transferring its students is known as the ‘sending institution,’ and the institution which accepts such students is known as the ‘receiving institution.’

Purpose of the Articulation Agreement: Why Do You Need It?

The purpose of an articulation agreement is to help transfer the credits that a student has earned in one institution to another institution. When such an agreement is in place between two universities, it provides a simplified process for the transfer of credits. The credits already earned by the student will be accepted by the receiving institution, and they will count those credits towards completion of a particular degree at their university. Hence the student will not have to take a course again for which he has already earned credits. Thus, the student can plan his courses in a structured manner keeping his ultimate degree in mind.

Such agreements usually exist between a community college (which is generally a two – year college) and a four – year college. The credits earned by the student in a community college can be transferred towards a particular degree in the four – year college. This helps the student align his classes at the community college with the course requirements of a bachelor’s degree that he wishes to graduate in. It thus helps the student complete his bachelor’s degree in a shorter span of time.

A student may decide to enter a community college for various reasons, which may include financial issues or low grades in school. He can go through the articulation agreements that the community college has entered into with a particular university. This helps him choose a community college that already has a tie-up with a certain university. He can also ensure that the courses taken up by him will help him earn a bachelor’s degree in a four – year college and thus can use his time in a fruitful manner.

Contents of the Articulation Agreement

There are various clauses that must be included in an articulation agreement in order to make the agreement binding and to make the entire transaction between the two institutions clear. The agreement must contain the names of the educational institutions that are entering into the agreement and the date on which the agreement shall become operative. The term of the agreement shall be mentioned along with the method for its renewal.

The agreement should clearly provide the manner in which the credits shall be evaluated by the receiving institution, and it may also provide a list of specific courses completed that will transfer to the other institution. It can also provide the exact number of classes a student must complete in community college (or any other sending institution as the case may be) in order to be able to transfer to a four-year college.

The agreement will also state the cumulative grade point ratio that the student must achieve in order to be eligible for the transfer. The agreement will also mention the law under which it will be governed and which court shall have jurisdiction to handle any dispute that arises under the clauses of this agreement.

When all these details of the transfer are laid down in the agreement in a clear manner, it helps students understand if taking admission in a particular community college will help them later on to complete a bachelor’s degree in a university. The students are well informed about the benefits of taking up a particular course, and thus, they can make an informed decision.

How to Draft the Articulation Agreement?

The following are the steps to follow while drafting an articulation agreement:

  • The institutions must agree on the courses and the credits that will be accepted for transfer under the articulation agreement. The manner in which this shall be done must be discussed by the parties.
  • All such terms and conditions that have been agreed to by the parties must be laid down in writing in the agreement.
  • The agreement must be drafted such that it can easily be understood by the students who will read it. There must be clarity given to the students as to the courses and credits that will be covered under the scope of the agreement.
  • The agreement must be reviewed and thereafter signed by both parties. This will help to make it valid and binding in nature.

Negotiation Strategy

  • The basic negotiation strategy is to ensure that the agreement is fair to both parties and is completely unbiased.
  • It is a mutually beneficial agreement and hence must be negotiated and drafted in such a manner as to protect both parties.

Benefits of the Articulation Agreement

The following are the benefits of having an articulation agreement:

  • This agreement is very beneficial for students of a particular college or university who wish to transfer the credits that they have earned in a particular course or degree to another college or university.
  • It helps the students to easily understand which courses can be transferred and which cannot be transferred. This helps the student pick the right courses in community college.
  • The community college can market itself by stating that its courses are accepted by a particular four – year college. This will result in more admissions for the community college.
  • The four – year college, accepting credits, can ensure that the students are able to complete their degrees in a much shorter span of time.
  • If such an agreement is not in place, the process of transferring from a community college to a four- year college can be a daunting one for students.

What Happens in Case of Violation?

Every articulation agreement will have a clause that talks about the actions to be taken if one party to the agreement breaches a clause under it or does not complete any obligation or duty that it must perform under the terms of the agreement. When a material breach(1) of the terms of the agreement has taken place, the non-breaching party has the option of sending a notice to the breaching party asking them to cure such breach within a specified time period. If this is not done, the non-breaching party has the option of terminating the agreement.

There will also be a clause in the agreement stating that any dispute that arises under this agreement will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of a specified court.

In conclusion, this articulation agreement is a very important partnership between two institutions that can prove to be very beneficial for students. It provides for a seamless transfer of students from one college to another. Such an agreement has multiple for both the universities in question as well as for students. A community college can also prove to be a good choice for students if it has a tie-up with a particular university. By making it easier to transfer to a university, the agreement makes sure that more and more students complete professional degrees, and there are fewer dropouts at the college stage.