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What is the Statewide Transfer and Articulation Reporting System (STARS)?
STARS stands for Statewide Transfer & Articulation Reporting System. STARS is a web-accessible database system which provides guidance and direction for prospective transfer students in the State of Alabama.
The STARS System allows public two-year students in Alabama to obtain a Transfer Guide/Agreement for the major of their choice. This guide/agreement, if used correctly, guides the student through their first two years of coursework and prevents loss of credit hours upon transfer to the appropriate public four-year university in Alabama. Although transfer guides/agreements can be printed only for two-year to four-year transfers, the STARS System can still provide guidance and direction to transfer students who have a different transfer situation.
What is the Articulation and General Studies Committee (AGSC)?
AGSC stands for the Alabama Articulation and General Studies Committee. The AGSC was created in March of 1994 by the State Legislature through ACT 94-202.
The AGSC was created to simplify the transfer of course credit between public institutions of higher education within the State of Alabama. To accomplish this task, the AGSC has developed and implemented a statewide general studies and articulation program that facilitates the transferability of coursework among all Alabama public colleges and universities. The AGSC continues to serve as a monitoring committee for the articulation program. The committee members oversee and maintain the program on an on-going basis. Finally, the AGSC works to resolve any student appeals related to transfer of coursework as it relates to the articulation program.
For more information, click here.
How were the AGSC and STARS created?
The AGSC and STARS Program was created through by the Alabama State Legislature through the passing of Act 94-202.
What are the advantages of a statewide articulation program?
Students and parents benefit.
Having a statewide articulation program that covers the transfer of course credit from one public institution to another can result in huge savings in terms of time and money for both parents and students. For example, if a student takes one or more courses that they believe will transfer and upon transfer finds out otherwise, the student not only loses the money spent on tuition, books, room and board but also must face graduation delays which might result in lost income from future job opportunities.
The public two-year institutions benefit.
In addition to saving time and money for students and parents, the two-year colleges across the state have begun to streamline their course offerings to better match the AGSC approved transfer requirements as prescribed by STARS. The two-year colleges can also provide better and more consistent advising and counseling for their students. Most two-year institutions, if not all, have started to use STARS as their primary advising tool.
The public four year institutions benefit.
Now that a state articulation program is in place, four-year institutions can better support transfer students. The four-year institutions are more familiar with which courses they have to take in each of the various majors or programs. In addition, each month every four-year institution receives a list of prospective transfer students who have expressed an interest in transferring to their institution. This list provides the four-year institutions with student names, addresses, e-mails, and phone numbers (if provided). This reporting feature has greatly enhanced the transfer student recruitment process.
The State of Alabama benefits.
The STARS program also makes it easier for students to begin and complete their degrees in Alabama. In addition, the state articulation program promotes accountability among the higher education leaders of Alabama. Through this program, millions of dollars are saved each year because students are better informed and they do not waste time and/or money taking courses that will ultimately not count toward their total degree hours.
Alabama is not alone in this effort. Many states have implemented similar state articulation programs. In almost every instance, the benefits gained from such programs far outweigh the costs and difficulties associated in implementing and maintaining such a program.
If you would like to have someone from the STARS staff visit your campus and discuss the positive impact that the AGSC & STARS Program has had on higher education in Alabama, please contact us.
Term & effectiveness
For how long is my transfer guide valid?
From the date you submit this transfer guide, it must be honored by all Alabama public universities that offer the specified major for four years.
What happens after my guide lapses?
If it has been more than four years since you submitted a guide, your credits should still transfer just like older credits taken by all other students in the same degree program at a given university.
What happens if I change majors?
This guide only applies so long as you continue in your specified major. If you decide to change your major, you should get a new transfer guide. Most guides are fairly similar for Areas I–IV; however, you should still consult your academic advisor or counselor.
What happens if the university refuses to honor my Transfer Guide? What if their requirements differ from those on the Guide?
Transfer Guides are protected by the AGSC Transfer Agreement. This agreement guarantees the transferability of major-specific courses for all of the listed universities. If a university refuses to honor your Transfer Guide, please contact us.
Will these course requirements ever change?
You may choose to graduate under the course requirements displayed on this guide, or more recent requirements.
The only exception is when a change is mandated by an external accrediting agency or other regulatory agency, such as the State Department of Education, ACHE, SACS, NCATE, or CLN. In this case, the requirements will change equally for all students at a given university.
Does it matter where I take the courses?
If you follow your transfer guide, then your graduation requirements will be equal to all other students in the same degree program at a given university.
However, each university has a minimum threshold to be considered a “transfer student.” If your transfer credits are fewer than this threshold, then you are still considered a “first-time” student. While you will receive credit for your courses, it may only go toward the Area (I–V) in which they were a requirement — not toward the exact equivalent courses.
This is because we want to ensure you don’t end up with gaps in your education. From one college or university to another, equivalent courses might differ by a unit or two. If you switch institutions without completing the full Area requirements, you might miss out on important knowledge. But, taken together, the Area requirements at a single institution cover everything you need to know.
This is especially true when certain courses are required in sequence. We strongly recommend you complete them all at the same community college or university.
Why does the course table list more courses than are required for a given Area?
Some Areas do not require specific courses, but instead let you pick from a list of AGSC-approved courses. Just make sure you check how your chosen courses will transfer to each university, as this may vary.
What does it mean when the course table says “Area Core” or “Elective Only”?
Some courses at a community college don’t have an exact equivalent at a given university. However, we recognize that they impart valuable knowledge.
So, rather than throwing those credits away when you transfer, the universities choose to accept them as “Area Core” or “Elective” courses. This means that they’ll apply toward the Area (I–V) that the course falls under, but not toward any specific course.
How will my AP or CLEP credits transfer?
Each university may decide how to apply Advanced Placement (AP) and/or College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits.
You can view the AP course equivalency tables on each university’s page.
Do my grades matter?
First of all, your grades will affect your eligibility for admission into your desired university.
Second, your pre-transfer GPA will follow you to the university.
Third, if your grades fall below the university’s threshold for transfer, then you will not be awarded credit for the courses and will need to re-take them. Each university may decide how to handle the transfer of D grades. (The same policy must be applied equally to all students — native or transfer — at a given university.)
I completed all the course requirements. Does that mean I’ll be admitted to my desired university?
Congratulations on completing all the course requirements!
Unfortunately, this guide does not guarantee admission to any university; nor to any specific major at the university; nor, even, to any broader field of study. You must still be officially admitted.
For a link to the university’s admission requirements, visit its webpage.