Bill to ease transfers between community colleges, private colleges and universities heads to Governor after final Senate approval

Legislation aims to increase college completion rates

(NASHVILLE, TN), March 20, 2012 — The State Senate approved and sent to Governor Bill Haslam legislation on Monday night that would make it easier for students to transfer credits between community colleges, private colleges and state universities.  Senate Bill 2431, sponsored by Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), authorizes community colleges within the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) to enter into reverse articulation or reverse transfer agreements with four year institutions within the TBR system and institutions within the University of Tennessee, as well as private colleges accredited by the Southern Association of College and Schools (SACS).

Articulation agreements are arrangements between higher education institutions that facilitate the transfer of course credits from one school to another. Agreements outline specific courses and letter grades completed at the community college that will transfer to a university or private college.  They help students begin more defined curriculums so that students understand exactly which courses will and will not transfer as they move between colleges.

“As more students are attending community colleges to start their post-secondary education and then transferring to four year schools to earn their bachelor’s degree, articulation agreements are extremely important to ensure smooth and transparent transitions, said Senator Gresham.  “An articulation agreement provides a simplified, guaranteed transfer process for students as the move from community colleges to four-year institutions or vice versa, or from private to public universities.”

According to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), articulation agreements between public higher education institutions are currently in development as part of the state’s Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010.  The articulation agreements between public institutions and private SACS-accredited institutions will be completed if the private institutions approve the agreements.

Gresham said the agreements could also work to give students attending a four-year college who do not complete their degree, the opportunity to transfer their credits to a community college if they choose to earn an Associate Degree instead.

“We have ambitious goals to increase the number of college graduates in Tennessee,” added Gresham.  “The articulation agreement makes sure a student has a clear understanding of what courses to complete at a community college to transfer to a university or private college successfully.  This saves them from taking repetitive courses on the university level that might lengthen their time to degree completion.”

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