LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Transferring college credits can be a difficult process, but a research team led by the University of Arizona is developing technology to change that.

“Students lose about a year’s worth of college credits every time they transfer,” says UA Vice Provost Greg Heileman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

READ MORE: The Forum In Inglewood Will Reopen At Full Capacity For Foo Fighters Concert On July 17

Heileman’s team is working on a project called UnBlockEd, which can quickly tell you if your credits can be carried over or not.

“You could take your transcript with all of your prior coursework, put it through the system and query it to say tell me the degree I am closest to earning at a given institution,” Heileman tells CBS affiliate KOLD.

UnBlockEd relies on blockchain technology, which is typically associated with cryptocurrency, a digital or virtual currency secured by cryptography that makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend.

UnBlockEd would eliminate the need for students to rely on others or pay an institution for their own learning records, which would be especially helpful during a pandemic, says University of Arizona Senior Vice President and Provost Liesl Folks.

“In some countries, to get a transcript of your record, you need to go into an office and physically turn up with your identification before they’ll hand you over a paper copy of a transcript,” she explains. “One of the side benefits of this technology that we’re developing is that would become an entirely digital process but would be even more trustworthy than the current paper base, face to face verification process.”

UnBlockEd was one of four winners for the first phase of the American Council on Education‘s $900,000 Blockchain Innovation Challenge, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The first phase winners of the challenge received $150,000 to further develop their individual projects in spring 2021.

MORE NEWS: Embattled LA Councilman Mike Bonin Steps Up Efforts To Clear Venice Homeless Camps

The UA team has a scheduled demo presentation in April in hopes of winning a second round of funding. It has partnered with  Georgia Institute of TechnologyFluree and the John N. Gardner Institute to create an open transfer exchange.