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Brewer signs common course-numbering bill at West campus

(Photo courtesy of Jordan Frakes)
(Photo courtesy of Jordan Frakes)

Gov. Jan Brewer arrived on the West campus Wednesday morning for a ceremonial signing of a student-drafted bill that will make it easier for students to transfer credits between Arizona community colleges and universities.

Senate Bill 1186 was drafted by members of the Arizona Students’ Association.

“It is a bill that aims to save students the unnecessary time and money spent on transferring core courses from one Arizona public institution to the next,” said David Martinez, ASA director of government affairs.

State Press Television By Jordan Frakes

According to an ASA press release, colleges will match course numbers for 100- and 200-level courses.

Brewer officially signed the bill in May and Wednesday’s signing was for ceremonious purposes only.

The Arizona Board of Regents is in charge of drawing up details of how the new law will be implemented, Martinez said. The board will have the plan complete by its December meeting.

Once the law is implemented, credits will be transferrable and it will no longer matter what institute a course is taken at. For instance, if a student takes a calculus course at UA, it will now transfer as a calculus course to ASU.

Some students, like nutrition junior Brittney Cortez, have had trouble with credits transferring under the current system.

Cortez took a dual-enrollment algebra class her senior year of high school through Gateway Community College, and thought it would count toward her algebra requirement at ASU, she said.

“They kind of dressed it up to make [me] think I wouldn’t have to take math my freshman year of college,” Cortez said. “I was just under a false impression.”

The credits did not transfer and she had to retake the algebra course, she said.

The point of this bill is to eliminate these problems, said state Sen. John Huppenthal, R- Chandler, the sponsor of the bill.

“If you’re caught in a situation where you have to repeat classes, that gets very expensive,” Huppenthal said. “There are thousands of students in that place because classes that are obviously the same aren’t transferring.”

Every public university and community college in Arizona is now required to implement a system that allows common courses to transfer among every public institute in the state, Martinez said.

During the ceremony, Brewer said the passage of the bill is an important step toward this reform.

“There is really no one magical cure to our problems in higher education,” she said. “But in these very critical financial times … we must continue to make sure that every opportunity is pursued.”

The new course numbering system is expected to be in place by the beginning of next school year, Huppenthal said.

“The process of developing this system will not be easy and it may take some time, but today I want sincerely to congratulate [the ASA students] and Sen. Huppenthal for a job well done,” Brewer said.

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