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What is Tennessee Reverse Transfer?

Approximately 2,300 students transfer each year from Tennessee’s community colleges to four-year colleges and universities with at least 45 of the 60 credits required for most associate degrees. Estimates indicate that about 1,300 of those students may be eligible for an associate degree by reverse transfer while they are completing their bachelor’s degree.

Tennessee Reverse Transfer allows transfer students who are currently attending a four-year school to combine four-year college credits with community college credits to receive an associate degree.

You may have plans to complete a bachelor’s degree, and we certainly hope you do! By earning an associate degree, you become more marketable to potential employers, and can earn more money as a result of earning the degree as you work toward completing a bachelor’s degree.

Unfortunately, challenges arise that can disrupt your progress toward completing a bachelor’s degree. By completing an associate degree, you ensure that those credits don’t go to waste! If you earn an associate degree, you guarantee that all of your coursework transfers to a four-year institution in the event that you begin working toward a bachelor’s degree again.

As you fulfill requirements at your four-year school that qualify you for an associate degree by Reverse Transfer, you are simultaneously making progress toward completing your bachelor’s degree! Obtaining an associate degree does not change the courses or path you are currently on toward completing your bachelor’s degree. If you have questions about this, contact your current four-year advisor.

To be eligible to participate in the Tennessee Reverse Transfer Program, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a transfer student currently enrolled in a participating four-year institution
  • Have a minimum of 15 Tennessee community college credits
  • Have a minimum of 60 combined college credits

If you meet these requirements, you will receive an email from your four-year school with an invitation to opt-in.

If you meet the minimum eligibility requirements to participate in Reverse Transfer, you will receive an email from your four-year school with an invitation to opt-in. By opting-in, you provide consent to allow your four-year institution to share your courses, grades and transcript with your former community college so that they can evaluate your combined credits.

Embedded in the content of the email is a place to “Opt-In” If you click there, you will be directed to a page where you provide some basic demographic information and grant consent. Opting-in is simple–a click and 2 minutes of your time is all we need!

Not necessarily. If you receive the invitation to opt-in, that means you meet the minimum requirements to participate. By opting-in, you grant permission for your former community college to perform a degree audit where they evaluate your coursework based on the Tennessee Transfer Pathways.

If you maintained at least a 2.0 GPA at your community college, and meet the requirements for at least one of the Transfer Pathways, you will be awarded an associate degree by Reverse Transfer, and will be contacted by your former community college’s Registrar’s Office.

If you did not complete all the necessary coursework to receive an associate degree at this time, a representative from the Registrar’s Office at your community college will notify you of which courses you are missing in order to complete the Transfer Pathway.

If you take those courses in future semesters, you will still have an opportunity to receive an associate degree by Reverse Transfer while at the same time making progress toward completing your bachelor’s degree.

Once you opt-in, it takes community colleges most of the semester to perform a degree audit. If you meet all of the requirements for an associate degree by Reverse Transfer, the degree will be awarded at the end of the semester. Your former community college will contact you once the degree is posted.

The associate degree you started at a Tennessee community college can be awarded to you at no cost while you continue to work toward completing your bachelor’s degree.

If you receive a Pell Grant, HOPE Scholarship, or a federal loan, your financial aid will not be impacted. However, if you receive aid from a private scholarship, you will need to review the conditions of the scholarship—there may be a clause that impacts the financial award if you receive an associate degree. 

You can discuss your financial aid with someone in the Financial Aid Office at your four-year institution.

Degree audits will compare your coursework to all of the Tennessee Transfer Pathways. If you meet the degree requirements for one of those, that is the degree you will be awarded. If you do not meet the requirements for one of these content-specific programs, the community college will also check to see if you meet the requirements for an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science General degree.

Students that have already earned an associate degree are not eligible to participate in Reverse Transfer. If you receive an invitation to opt-in, and already have an associate degree, please contact your former community college’s Registrar’s office so that they can remove you from the list of eligible students.

Have a different question? Get in touch with us.