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Tennessee Statewide Higher Education Initiative

The Tennessee Reverse Transfer System

In May 2014, AcademyOne was selected to develop and implement an automated Reverse Transfer system for the state of Tennessee. The purpose of the project is to allow students who completed a minimum of 15 hours at a participating Tennessee two-year institution, and who transferred to a participating Tennessee four-year institution, to combine the credits they have earned from both institutions and apply them toward an associate degree.

The project is a joint venture with the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Funding was provided by the state of Tennessee through a “Credit When It’s Due” grant, administered through the Lumina Foundation.

In June 2014, AcademyOne began development. Tennessee’s Transfer Pathway degree requirements were built using AcademyOne’s TransferCheck solution to map equivalencies for each community college. A pilot group of six community colleges worked collaboratively with AcademyOne, providing input and feedback on functionality, until the pilot commenced in October 2014.

The Reverse Transfer System includes workflows that enhance communication, identify more potential completers, assimilate data from multiple student systems and automate the degree audit process.

  • Student Identification - four-year institutions are able to upload a list of eligible students, along with their course histories from that institution into the system.
  • Consent & Notification Tracking - qualifying students are notified of their eligibility via email and are asked to opt-in with permission to transmit their course history data to the two-year college. All notifications are tracked in the system for a complete history.
  • FERPA-Compliant Communication & Data Exchange - two-year colleges upload complete academic course history of consenting students into the system to map against associate degree requirements.
  • Degree Audit - the system runs a simulated audit matching each student’s course history against preloaded reverse transfer pathways to determine if they have met, or are close to meeting, the degree requirements for an associate degree.
  • Degree Conferral & Advising – two-year colleges review the results of the automated audit and notify students of their award eligibility, or advise them of any outstanding requirements needed for completion.
  • Dashboard – two year colleges can review statistical reports on current and previous cycle outcomes as well as system usage reports.

Tennessee elected to implement the Reverse Transfer System in cycles, coinciding with their Spring and Fall degree award dates. Cycle 1 began in January 2015 with 7 community colleges, 6 public four-year universities and 1 private four-year university participating. During this cycle 5,860 eligible students were identified and emailed for consent. 1,159 students consented. In May 2015, 341 students across the state were part of the first group to receive their degrees through the Reverse Transfer System.

Cycle 2 began in the Fall of 2015 with 9 public four-year universities, 6 private four-year universities and all 13 community colleges in the state participating, making Tennessee one of a handful of states in the country creating reverse transfer programs on this scale. More than 7,500 eligible students were identified. 1,755 students consented to participate. In December 2015, 460 students received their two-year degree through the Reverse Transfer System.

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