Are You Transfer Friendly?

December 10, 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM

Paul Rhinehart & Steve Hahn | SmartPanda Tools & Huron

Summit Stage Recording

About the Speakers

Paul Rhinehart, PhD
Co-founder @ SmartPanda Tools

  • 20 years of experience as PeopleSoft Campus Solutions Consultant with implementations throughout the U.S.
  • Co-founded SmartPanda Tools in early 2018
  • Functional and Technical
  • Primary focus is Student Records which has given me familiarity with transfer credit
  • Based in Los Angeles

Steve Hahn
Senior Director, Student Strategy @ Huron Consulting

  • Joined Huron in January 2020
  • Worked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in various leadership roles, most recently as the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at UW-Madison
  • Passionate about improving access to higher education, making college more affordable for all students, and innovating around the student experience. Worked in university admissions and academic services, information technology, financial aid, and enrollment management for over 20 years.

The Story

Students have faced many obstacles to success in moving through higher education. The statistics tell the stories of personal struggle and economic and social justice impacts.

The Why

Transfer Credit is the 'new normal’ – theme of “Student Mobility.” Students are the general contractors of their own education and their options have only grown due to COVID.

In this sense, most students are now “transfer” students. Experience from UW-Madison. They are not a special population, they are THE population and one around which enrollments are made. The numbers of students moving credits is only going to keep increasing; there are many contributing factors and dynamics:

  • Adult students
  • Continuing ed and vocational and career education
  • Highschool/AP/RunningStart
  • Summer swirl, Covid swirl
  • Online courses
  • Economic pressures and consumer mindset
  • Community college and for-profit alternatives
  • Blockchain/portable student record
  • Micro-credentials
  • Military

What's Next

Why Should YOU Focus on Transfer Student Success (student mobility)?

  • It’s the right thing to do for students
  • It’s the mission of the institution
  • State funding is tied to success rates
  • It’s the right thing to do for your own competitive advantage, enrollment sustainability
  • Failing to serve students is very expensive (attrition, under-enrollment, underemployment, student loan losses)
  • Administrative cost savings
  • Successful transfer mobility has many related benefits (advising, course selection, financial aid, completions, affinity, and alumni)
  • Enrollment numbers/revenue often depend on success in transfer at some institutions
  • Technology makes a seamless experience more possible than ever, i.e. progress does not need to be expensive or difficult

Call to Action

What Does a Solution Look Like?

Some of it is technology and some of it is collaboration/policy at regional and state levels


  • Transfer agreements with guarantees of no credit loss
  • Cover transfer portability as well as applicability to degree
  • Articulations agreements should move to matriculation agreements
  • Faculty partnerships are important here


  • Student record will be fully portable and digital to seamlessly move between schools
  • Transfer equivalencies, articulation agreements will be fully predictable and transparent
  • Automate the mainstream, and leave the rest for value-added manual review at the margins
  • SIS agnostic


  • Self-service availability to student at every step in their journey
  • Degree applicability will be predictable and transparent

Closing Thoughts

What will you do with what you just learned?

Paul Rhinehart | SmartPanda Tools


Steve Hahn | Huron Consulting Group


"You can design today for tomorrow, or you can design tomorrow, today."