NIU should accept more transfer credits

By Colin Remes

Like many students at NIU, this is not my first institution. According to NIU’s website, about 85 percent of graduates have at least one semester of transfer credits towards their degree.

I would very much like to know how that breaks down, however. ‘Transfer credits’ does not mean ‘transfer student’.

I’m sure that number is comprised of many who use community college during the summers to get general education classes out of the way. Or these students might fail out, go to a community college to fix their transcripts and then re-apply.

There are also those who transfer from Kishwaukee College or College of DuPage with an Associate’s degree. On a side note I’d like to applaud those of you who did this; you’ve been financially-savvier than I when it comes to paying for your education. What about those of us who spent time at another four-year university and decided NIU would be a better decision for us?

Virtually none of my credits transferred over from Millikin University, where I spent six semesters. Granted, this is because I was in a different major, so I understand and have no complaint about those credits.

What does get under my skin is that virtually none of general education credits transferred either, several of which would have directly gone to the completion of my current major. I had to retake two math classes, a science class with a lab (apparently NIU does not recognize astronomy as a science that covers that requirement). What annoyed me the most – my major at Millikin was music yet I had to take a music course here to fulfill a general education requirement. You have got to be kidding me.

Are there ways around this? Yes, you can request to have these credits re-evaluated if you go through the proper channels, but unless you ask directly who you need to talk to, what information you need to gather, and what paperwork you may need to fill out, you won’t be told. This information is not offered up to you so you can transfer your credits with ease.

Why, one may wonder, would that be?

The answer is simple: NIU, like every other school in America, is a business first and an educational institution second. The longer they can keep you here, the more money they get. If your credits don’t transfer, oh well, you’ll just have to retake similar or even the very same courses and that helps NIU’s bottom line.

Let’s back off the offensive here for at least a paragraph and look at this from the school’s perspective. I don’t know the budget numbers but I can safely assume, like most of America, the educational system is in a crunch.

Because Illinois has a tremendous amount of debt, perhaps NIU has had to become more self-reliant in order to keep itself running. Its only other source of income is its students. One could argue that it is better to keep the institution open and charge students more money rather than let the school go bankrupt and disappear altogether. I for one am inclined to agree with that.