309  Reverse Transfer

Approved by President
Effective Date: June 5, 2017
Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Responsible Office:  Records and Scheduling
Responsible Officer:  Registrar

I. Purpose

This policy serves as a framework for reverse transfer between Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University) and other institutions of higher education within Tennessee.

II. Definitions

A.  Potential Reverse Transfer Degree Candidates. Students who:

1.  are currently enrolled at MTSU and were previously enrolled as degree seeking students at a Tennessee community college or other Tennessee associate degree-granting institution;

2.  have earned a minimum of fifteen (15) college credits towards an associate degree at the associate degree-granting institution; and

3.  have earned a combined minimum of sixty (60) total college-level credits.

B.  Screening Degree Audit. The screening degree audit will be run on those students who are currently enrolled at MTSU and were previously enrolled at a Tennessee community college or other Tennessee associate degree-granting institution as degree seeking students, have earned a combined minimum of sixty (60) total college-level credits and have successfully transferred a minimum of twelve (12) college credits towards an associate degree at the associate degree-granting institution.

C.  Reverse Transfer. A credit review of degree seeking students who transfer from a community college to a four (4)-year institution prior to receipt of the associate’s degree to determine if and when the students complete the associate’s degree requirements and, if so, to award them an associate’s degree.

III. Governance and Compliance

A.  It is understood that the UT-TBR-TICUA Articulation and Transfer Council will have oversight of the reverse transfer process and policies and will review the policy and its impact annually. Oversight responsibilities include, but are not limited to, assessment and evaluation of the process, reporting to the legislature, and modifications in the process/policies as needed.

B.  It is understood that the University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) will house and maintain the server and will have primary responsibility for the stored data (demographic and academic) as well as the data extracted for evaluation and reporting purposes. CBER will maintain the confidentiality and integrity of the data and will have primary responsibility for research and reporting related to reverse transfer. Data collected for the reverse transfer process at MTSU will not be integrated into or become part of the Tennessee Longitudinal Data System (TLDS) unless approved by the President. In addition, the President may designate an individual to have access to individual records for MTSU students to conduct additional research and/or to validate the number of students receiving an associate degree and their credit hours reported to THEC.

C.  Policies/procedures must be in compliance with the standards of accreditation set forth by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

1.  Reverse Transfer candidates must complete “…at least 25 percent of the credit hours required for the degree” at the Tennessee institution awarding the associate’s degree. (SACSCOC 3.5.2)

2.  Reverse transfer candidates must adhere to the catalog requirements established by the degree-granting institution. (SACSCOC 3.5.3)

D.  All student information shared between and among institutions to facilitate reverse transfer awards must be in compliance with FERPA guidelines and applicable State of Tennessee statutes.

IV. Policies

A.  Each institution will be responsible for the accuracy of equivalency tables and degree audits. Equivalency tables and degree audits must be reviewed and updated annually or as new programs are approved.

B.  The “last hours” policy shall be waived for reverse transfer degree candidates at all Tennessee institutions. Requiring students to complete any number of “last hours” at the community college would potentially place undue hardship on the student and would be counter-intuitive to the intent of reverse transfer.

C.  To adhere to the FERPA guidelines, MTSU must have written permission from the student to send the results of the screening degree audit to the associate degree-granting institution for reverse transfer degree audit purposes. The process to obtain student consent must include a reasonable way to identify the individual and authenticate the identity of the student as the source of the consent to the disclosure of the education records. MTSU will obtain written consent (i.e., hard copy, electronic consent) from those students who appear to have the credits for associate degree completion prior to sending the results of the screening degree audit to the associate degree-granting institution. The communication to the student must include the purpose for sending the information, the institution to which the student’s information will be sent, and the option to revoke participation in the reverse transfer process at any time.

D.  If a reverse transfer degree candidate attended more than one (1) associate degree- granting institution prior to transferring to a four (4)-year institution, the degree confirming institution will be the institution where the student earned the most credits, provided the student earned a minimum of fifteen (15) credits at that institution to meet the SACSCOC residency requirement (SACSCOC 3.5.2), and the student meets the requirements for an associate degree at that institution. In the event the student has earned the same number of credits and meets the residency and degree requirements at two (2) or more institutions, the institution that the student attended most recently will be considered as the degree-granting institution.

MTSU may not accept all credits earned at the associate degree-granting institution (i.e., grades of “D”) that may in fact count towards the associate degree. Therefore, a threshold of “successfully transferred” credits that is less than the minimum residency credits required at the associate degree-granting institution shall be established to capture and include those students who may have not had all earned degree credits accepted by MTSU. Students meeting this threshold are considered to be close to degree completion for purposes of the screening degree audit. The associate degree-granting institution will still have responsibility for the official degree audit and degree conferral, if the student is eligible.

E.  Students will not be assessed a fee to have the screening degree audit report sent to the associate degree-granting institutions in the degree audit process of reverse transfer.

F.  Reverse transfer degree recipients will not be assessed a graduation fee at the associate degree-granting institution.

G.  Each community college and each participating four (4)-year institution will designate a contact person for reverse transfer. The contact person will serve as a point of information to students, faculty, and advisors.

H.  Once a degree is conferred (baccalaureate or associate), the student will not be considered further for the reverse transfer process.

I.  While it is likely that the majority of reverse transfer degrees awarded will be either A.A. or A.S. degrees, it is possible that a student could complete the A.A.S., A.F.A, or A.S.T. degree requirements at MTSU, in which case the degree eligibility assessment would be made at the two (2)-year institution.

V. Procedures

A.  Reports will be generated each Spring and Fall semester (for May and December degree awards, respectively) to identify potential degree candidates and sent to the associate degree-granting institution for a degree audit and confirmation of degree. Potential degree candidates will be identified through a match of descriptive attributes which may include full name, permanent address, birth date, or other identifiers.

B.  A student may decline the degree.

C.  Students being awarded a degree and the hours credited for the degree at the community college and four (4)-year school will be recorded in the data set maintained by CBER.

Forms: none.

Revisions: none.

References SACSCOC Guidelines.