Academic transfer in Washington State

Colleges in Washington State have degrees and agreements to make transfer easier for students. Schools offer a variety of pathways for students who wish to transfer from one school to another. Students can transfer from a:

  • Community or technical college to a four-year college or university.
  • Four-year college or university to a community or technical college.
  • Four-year college or university to another four-year college or university.
  • Community or technical college to another community or technical college.

In addition to state-level agreements, schools may have more requirements. Students who want to transfer from one school to another should:

The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) is the state’s transfer liaison. The agency is a single statewide point of contact for transfer issues. WSAC also stores and maintains transfer agreements. Any changes to these agreements must go through this process.


Transfer policy

Transfer Rules and Partnerships:

State statues direct transfer opportunities and requirements. Schools follow an umbrella policy adopted in 1986 and a task force agreement from 1994. The following organizations work together to maintain and carry out transfer policy:

  • Council of Presidents (COP) 
  • State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) 
  • Independent Colleges of Washington
  • Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC)

Washington also has an informal transfer network. The network includes 20 different groups, and the members come from K-12 and higher education.


In January of each odd-numbered year, WSAC updates the Washington State Legislature on transfer. The update is a report on transfer associate degrees. WSAC sent the most recent report in 2015. Visit our reports and publications page for older reports. 


Transfer student concerns

Transfer rights and responsibilities:

Students and schools have transfer rights and responsibilities. Washington State’s public and private colleges and universities recognize these rights and responsibilities. 

Schools have processes to resolve issues with academic transfer. Students with transfer issues should work with their schools first. If the issue persists, students can send a complaint form to the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC). 


Transfer and financial aid

Transfer students can apply for a variety of financial aid programs. These include grants, scholarships, loans and work study. Students should apply for financial aid as early as possible. 

Limits on length of study

Many types of financial aid limit the length of time students can receive aid. These limits affect how long transfer students can receive financial aid after transferring.  Federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs have different limits. Students usually can only receive financial aid for 125 or 150 percent of the program length. Federal loans also have a max loan limit per person. 

Satisfactory academic progress

Students must also maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for financial aid eligibility. SAP is a measurement of academic performance that uses GPA and completed credits. Specific standards may vary by institution. All prior college coursework, including transfer coursework, will be evaluated for SAP.

Next steps

Requirements vary by school, so students should contact the school they want to transfer to. The school can answer questions about how credits will transfer and affect financial aid. 

For more information about financial aid programs, visit Ready Set Grad. 



Transfer associate degrees

Public community and technical colleges offer transfer associate degrees that make it easier for students to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. These are the kinds of transfer associate degrees:

  1. Direct Transfer Agreement Associate Degree
  2. Associate of Science – Transfer Degree 
  3. Major Related Programs

These degrees allow students to meet all or most lower division general education requirements before they transfer. Depending on the degree, they may also meet some lower division requirements for their major.

Once admitted to a bachelor’s degree program, students who complete these transfer degrees can generally expect:

  • 90 transferrable quarter credits.
  • Junior class standing.

The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges has more information about the kinds of degrees and certificates offered at Washington’s public community and technical colleges. 

Direct Transfer Agreement Associate Degree

Transfer option to four-year institutions:

The DTA degree transfers to all public four-year schools and to many independent colleges in Washington. It includes lower division general education courses required by most schools.

In addition to the state-level agreements, schools may have more requirements. Students who want to transfer should talk to academic advisors at both schools. 


Associate of Science - Transfer Degree

A science or engineering transfer degree:

The AS-T is for students who want to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science. Before students transfer, they take lower division major classes and some general education classes. After they transfer, students finish the rest of their general education requirements and upper division major classes. All public four-year schools and many independent colleges accept the AS-T. 

In addition to the state-level agreements, schools may have more requirements. Students who want to transfer should talk to academic advisors at both schools. 

There are two AS-T options:

  • Track 1 agreement for biological sciences, environmental/resource sciences, chemistry, geology, and earth science.
  • Track 2 agreement for engineering, computer science, physics, and atmospheric sciences.



Major Related Programs (MRPs)

MRPs prepare students for bachelor's degrees in specific majors. Each MRP is a course plan based on the DTA or AS-T degree, and each has a different set of participating schools. Four-year schools that sign an MRP are agreeing that the MRP prepares students for that major at their school. Schools that don't sign the MRP agreement will treat an MRP as a basic DTA or AS-T degree. 

In addition to the state-level agreements, schools may have more requirements. Students who want to transfer should talk to academic advisors at both schools. 

Biology (DTA)

Biology Direct Transfer:


Business (DTA)

Business Direct Transfer:


Computer science (DTA)

Computer science Direct Transfer:


Construction management (DTA)

Construction management Direct Transfer:


Engineering (AS-T 2)

Engineering Direct Transfer:

Bioengineering and chemical engineering
Computer and electrical engineering
Mechanical, civil, aeronautical, industrial, or materials science engineering


Engineering technology (AS-T 2)

Engineering technology Direct Transfer:

Electrical engineering technology
Computer engineering technology
Mechanical engineering technology


Math education (DTA)

Math education Direct Transfer:


Music (DTA)

Music Direct Transfer:


Nursing (DTA)

RN-BSN pathway


Pre-Nursing (DTA)

Pre-nursing Direct Transfer:


Technology (DTA)

Technology Direct Transfer:

Industrial technology
Mechanical technology
Applied technology
Technology with various options: manufacturing, electronics, design and construction, technology education



Other transfer options

The best way to transfer between colleges is with a transfer associate degree. Schools have processes to support students with these degrees. But there are other ways for students to transfer in Washington State.

Technical or applied science degree

There are two kinds of technical or applied science degrees.
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
  • Associate in Applied Science - Transfer Degree (AAS-T)

Depending on the degree, students can transfer some or all credits to a four-year school. Students who want to transfer should talk to academic advisors at both schools.

Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

The AAS is for students who want to start a career right after graduation. These degrees include accounting, culinary arts, or automotive technology. Some credits may transfer to a four-year school depending on the type of credits earned. Depending on the school and degree, some four-year schools may accept the entire AAS.

Associate in Applied Science – Transfer Degree (AAS-T)

The AAS-T is also for students who want to start a career right after graduation. But this degree can also transfer to some pre-approved bachelor’s degree programs. It includes at least 20 general education credits that can transfer. Find more information about AAS-T degrees on the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges’ website


Transferring without a degree

Transferring with credits:

Many students transfer to another college before they finish their associate degree. In these cases, schools transfer credits on a course-by-course basis. There are two ways schools can support students who transfer without a degree.

Reverse Transfer

Reverse transfer degrees let students transfer credits from a four-year school toward an associate degree at a community or technical college. 

Students who transfer to the following schools from a community or technical college may qualify for a reverse transfer degree. Students should talk to an academic advisor at the four-year school to find out if they qualify.

  • Washington State University
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Western Governors University

By December 2017, all public four-year schools will take part in reverse transfer degrees.

Washington 45

Washington 45 is a list of general education courses. Both community and technical colleges as well as public four-year schools offer these courses. And most four-year schools accept that these courses meet a year's worth of general education requirements. The largest number of credits that can transfer is 45.