College, university team on reverse transfer agreement

Through a new reverse transfer agreement, some students at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown will be able to transfer a greater number of credits to James Madison University in Harrisonburg. The change allows students to complete an associate’s degree through the community college while knocking out general education courses toward a bachelor’s degree.

It’s a partnership that benefits students and both schools, said Chris Coutts, vice president of academic and student affairs at Lord Fairfax.

“It’s really a package [of courses] that James Madison accepts,” Coutts said.

Students who complete the package toward an associate’s degree would begin school at James Madison as juniors, without fear of losing credits in the transfer, he said.

The offer extends only to the package as a whole, so he said students would be wise to complete the first degree at the community college before transferring to James Madison, even if the university has already accepted them.

Overall, the cost for transfer students would be less, since half of their classes would be through the community college.

Estimating 20 to 30 students a year will benefit from the partnership, Coutts said the agreement is a concept that other schools have begun adopting as well.

“There’s been a lot of talk about it,” he said. “This will be the first one for us.”

The partnership, which also extends to Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, is similar in practicality to the relationship Lord Fairfax has with Old Dominion University.

Old Dominion’s satellite site at Lord Fairfax’s Middletown and Warrenton campuses allow students easier conversation with their teachers and administrators at both schools, Coutts said.

But the college’s relationship with Old Dominion is more informal.

With James Madison, “It really is a partnership and for us it’s really exciting,” Coutts said. “It’s really a good deal for the students who want to move ahead.”

Contact Lord Fairfax Community College at 540-868-7000 or at

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or

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