College credits where credit's due: Schools slowly come around to accepting transfer students' work

Gage Ramirez was a year and a half into his studies toward a biology degree at a California public university when he came up against an unexpected roadblock: calculus.

Ramirez ultimately found himself changing majors and transferring to another California public institution. Little of the work he had put in came with him.

"As soon as I got there, it was like I was starting fresh. Even the high school credits I got didn't mean anything," he said. Before long, Ramirez said, "I was six years deep and still not done."

It is as common an experience for college students as it is frustrating, time-consuming and expensive for them, their families and taxpayers: credits that will not transfer, even among public institutions in the same states.

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