2:024 Reverse Transfer: Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines
|Austin Peay State University
||Reverse Transfer: Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines
||March 8, 2017
||Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
It is the policy of Austin Peay State University to allow reverse transfer between
the university and the State community colleges.
The purpose of this policy is to serve as a framework for Reverse Transfer across
the State of Tennessee and Austin Peay State University.
-Potential Reverse Transfer Degree
-Screening Degree Audit
-Government and Compliance
Potential Reverse Transfer Degree candidates are those students who:
- are currently enrolled at a Tennessee four-year institution and were previously enrolled
as degree seeking students at a Tennessee community college or other Tennessee associate
- have earned a minimum of 15 college credits towards an associate degree at the associate
degree-granting institution; and
- have earned a combined minimum of 60 total college-level credits.
|The screening degree audit will be run on those students who are currently enrolled
at a Tennessee four-year institution 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 60 total college-level credits and have
successfully transferred a minimum of 12 college credits towards an associate degree
at the associate degree-granting institution.
- On April 4, 2012, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed HB 2827 which amended Tennessee
Code Annotated, Title 49 relative to higher education. This amendment added the following
language to Section 1 Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 7, Part 1:
The community colleges of the board of regents system are authorized and encouraged
to enter into reverse articulation or reverse transfer agreements with the universities
of the board of regents and the University of Tennessee systems and with private institutions
of higher education that are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and
Schools. The universities of the board of regents and the University of Tennessee
systems are authorized and encouraged to enter into reverse articulation or reverse
transfer agreements with the community colleges of the board of regents system.
- In July 2012, a taskforce was convened to develop and implement a Reverse Transfer
Process across the State of Tennessee. The original taskforce was comprised of members
from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR),
the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA), and the University
of Tennessee (UT) systems.
- The full taskforce defined Reverse Transfer as “a credit review of degree seeking
students who transfer from a community college to a four 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.”
While the remaining courses required for the associate degree are completed at a Tennessee
four-year institution, it is the responsibility of the associate degree-granting institution
to verify degree completion and to award the two- year degree.
- Subsequently, workgroups were created and charged to develop components of the overall
process. The workgroups included members from THEC, TICUA, TBR, and UT. The Policies/Procedures
workgroup was charged with the development of academic policy/procedures that will
serve as the framework for Reverse Transfer across the State of Tennessee and among
the three systems of higher education (Tennessee Board of Regents, University of Tennessee,
and the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities).
- Austin Peay State University will participate in Reverse Transfer as encouraged and
supported by the State of Tennessee HB 2827. TICUA institutions may choose to participate.
Those state institutions that have existing Reverse Transfer agreements with other
state institutions must participate in the statewide solution. However, state institutions
may develop free-standing reverse transfer agreements with non-participating TICUA
- 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
- 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 will not be integrated into or become
part of the Tennessee Longitudinal Data System (TLDS) unless approved by the President
on each campus. CBER will collaborate with THEC, TBR, TICUA, UT, the Lumina Foundation
(Tennessee’s grant project founder), and the Office of Community College Leadership
and Research (OCCRL) at the University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana campus throughout
the evaluation and reporting processes. The “Credit When It’s Due” (CWID) founders
contracted OCCRL to document a baseline analysis, policy change/implementation and
aggregate student outcomes for the CWID project nation-wide. In addition, each campus/system
may designate an individual to have access to individual records for their students
to conduct additional research and/or to validate the number of students receiving
an associate degree and their credit hours reported to THEC.
- 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).
- 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.
- Reverse Transfer candidates must adhere to the Catalog requirements established by
the degree-granting institution. (SACSCOC 3.5.3)
- All student information shared between and among institutions to facilitate Reverse
Transfer awards must be in compliance with FERPA guidelines and applicable State of
- The Tennessee Higher Education Commission will work to identify and make any necessary
modifications to the funding formula to reflect a spirit of full collaboration among
Tennessee institutions of higher education and reward participating Tennessee institutions
accordingly. Reverse Transfer, an initiative to promote the educational attainment
of adult learners through the full cooperation and collaboration among Tennessee institutions
of higher education, will result in the generation of student and institutional outcomes
where none previously existed.
- The University is 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.
- 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.
- To adhere to the FERPA guidelines, the University 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. Schools must obtain written consent (e.g., 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.
Additionally, four year institutions may provide a section on the transfer application
to allow for the exchange of the screening degree audit results for reverse transfer
audit purposes or to opt out of the reverse transfer degree audit.
- If a Reverse Transfer degree candidate attended more than one associate degree- granting
institution prior to transferring to the University, the degree confirming institution
will be the institution where the student earned the most credits, provided the student
earned a minimum of 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 or more institutions, the institution
that the student attended most recently will be considered as the degree-granting
- The University may not accept all credits earned at the associate degree-granting
institution (e.g., 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 was
established to capture and include those students who may have not had all earned
degree credits accepted by the four-year institution. 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.
- Students will not be assessed a fee for to have the screening degree audit report
sent to the associate degree-granting institutions in the degree audit process of
- Reverse Transfer degree recipients will not be assessed a graduation fee at the associate
- The University will designate a contact person for Reverse Transfer. The contact person
will serve as a point of information to students, faculty, and advisors.
- Students are afforded due process under the appeals process and procedures outlined
in the Catalog at the appropriate institution.
- Once a degree is conferred (baccalaureate or associate), the student will not be considered
further for the reverse transfer process.
- Initially, Reverse Transfer degree awards will be limited to those degree programs
that are currently identified as a Tennessee Transfer Pathway. Community Colleges
also have the discretion to award the A.A. and A.S. General Studies degrees as reverse
awards where applicable. All other associate degree programs should be added to the
Reverse Transfer process as quickly as feasible.
- Additionally, all two-year degrees may be considered for and awarded through Reverse
Transfer. 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 a four-year institution, in which
case the degree eligibility assessment would be made at the two-year institution.
- The degree awarding process will be institution-initiated.
- 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.
- The associate degree-granting institution will send eligible students a letter of
degree confirmation, information regarding participation in graduation ceremonies,
and then mail diploma. Students will not need to file degree application for the associate
- A student may decline the degree.
- Students being awarded a degree and the hours credited for the degree at the community
college and four-year school will be recorded in the data set maintained by CBER.
- The associate degree-granting institution will notify, in writing, those students
whose associate degree audit indicates outstanding academic requirements for the Reverse
Transfer associate degree and any “holds” the student may have.
- Students will be notified of their progress toward the Reverse Transfer degree twice
a year (spring and fall) to coincide with the reporting schedule identified in Procedure
- It is the student’s responsibility to complete any outstanding academic requirements
within his/her Catalog time limit in order to be considered for a Reverse Transfer
- It is the student’s responsibility to clear any and all “holds” to be considered for
a Reverse Transfer degree.
- Website information for Reverse Transfer will be developed with input from UT, TBR,
and TICUA, and will be located on the Tennessee Transfer Pathway website which is
maintained by Tennessee Technological University. Each participating associate- degree
granting institution will have a Reverse Transfer page that will include a link to
the Reverse Transfer website. The institution’s Reverse Transfer contact person’s
name, email, and telephone number as well as general information about Reverse Transfer
will be included on the institution page.
||The general education assessment requirement may be waived for Reverse Transfer degree
candidates at the discretion of the degree-granting institution.
- The 2010 Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s Quality Assurance guidelines concerning
General Education Assessment (p. 7) indicate: “Institutions may exclude students from
testing for ‘good cause.’ Good cause exemptions must be supported by documentation
from the institution’s chief academic officer. Exceptions should not be approved for
simple inconvenience. This material should be available for review by Commission staff
- Reverse Transfer degree recipients will then complete the general education assessment
as graduating seniors from a Tennessee baccalaureate degree program.
- Therefore, community colleges will not be penalized under THEC Performance Funding
Quality Assurance guidelines for waiving the general education assessment requirement
for Reverse Transfer degree recipients (See Policy A in this document).
- Upper division courses completed at a four-year institution may be considered for
lower division course substitution on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with
current policy at the associate degree-granting institution.
- Reverse Transfer degree recipients may participate in the graduation ceremonies at
the degree-granting institution. Students who choose to participate in the ceremony
will be responsible for cap and gown rental.
APSU Policy 2:024 – Issued: March 8, 2017
President: signature on file