(1) The council must convene work groups to develop transfer associate degrees that will satisfy lower division requirements at public four-year institutions of higher education for specific academic majors. Work groups must include representatives from the state board for community and technical colleges and the council of presidents, as well as faculty from two and four-year institutions. Work groups may include representatives from independent four-year institutions.
(2) Each transfer associate degree developed under this section must enable a student to complete the lower-division courses or competencies for general education requirements and preparation for the major that a direct-entry student would typically complete in the first-year student and sophomore years for that academic major.
(3) Completion of a transfer associate degree does not guarantee a student admission into an institution of higher education or admission into a major, minor, or professional program at an institution of higher education that has competitive admission standards for the program based on grade point average or other performance criteria.
(4) During the 2004-05 academic year, the work groups must develop transfer degrees for elementary education, engineering, and nursing. As necessary based on demand or identified need, the council must convene additional groups to identify and develop additional transfer degrees. The council must give priority to majors in high demand by transfer students and majors that the general direct transfer agreement associate degree does not adequately prepare students to enter automatically upon transfer.
(5) The council, in collaboration with the intercollege relations commission, must collect and maintain lists of courses offered by each community and technical college and public four-year institution of higher education that fall within each transfer associate degree.
(6) The council must monitor implementation of transfer associate degrees by public four-year institutions to ensure compliance with subsection (2) of this section.
(7) Beginning January 10, 2005, the council must submit a progress report on the development of transfer associate degrees to the higher education committees of the house of representatives and the senate. The first progress report must include measurable benchmark indicators to monitor the effectiveness of the initiatives in improving transfer and baseline data for those indicators before the implementation of the initiatives. Subsequent reports must be submitted by January 10th of each odd-numbered year and must monitor progress on the indicators, describe development of additional transfer associate degrees, and provide other data on improvements in transfer efficiency.
Findings—Intent—2004 c 55: "(1) The legislature finds that community and technical colleges play a vital role for students obtaining baccalaureate degrees. In 2002, more than forty percent of students graduating with a baccalaureate degree had transferred from a community or technical college.
(2) The legislature also finds that demand continues to grow for baccalaureate degrees. Increased demand comes from larger numbers of students seeking access to higher education and greater expectations from employers for the knowledge and skills needed to expand the state's economy. Community and technical colleges are an essential partner in meeting this demand.
(3) However, the legislature also finds that current policies and procedures do not provide for efficient transfer of courses, credits, or prerequisites for academic majors. Furthermore, the state's public higher education system must expand its capacity to enroll transfer students in baccalaureate education. The *higher education coordinating board must take a leadership role in working with the community and technical colleges and four-year institutions to ensure efficient and seamless transfer across the state.
(4) Therefore, it is the legislature's intent to build clearer pathways to baccalaureate degrees, improve statewide coordination of transfer and articulation, and ensure long-term capacity in the state's higher education system for transfer students." [ 2004 c 55 § 1