Student Questions/FAQs

What is Tennessee Reverse Transfer?

Some students transfer to four-year universities before completing their associate degree. Reverse Transfer is a process that allows a student who completed more than 15 hours at a participating Tennessee two-year institution and transferred to a participating Tennessee four-year institution to combine college credits from both institutions and apply them toward an associate degree.


Thanks to a grant from Lumina Foundation ( and an appropriation from the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Board of Regents, the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission developed and approved Tennessee Reverse Transfer as a way for you to receive the associate degree you may have earned since your transfer.  It’s value added to your education!

Through Reverse Transfer, students who meet associate degree requirements, or who are close to meeting those requirements, will be contacted and provided an opportunity have completed credits evaluated for an associate degree.  Students must agree to share their two- and four-year transcript information to see if they are eligible for an associate degree.

Am I eligible for Reverse Transfer?

Reverse Transfer applies only to participating Tennessee institutions.  Students who meet the following criteria will be considered for Tennessee Reverse Transfer:

  • Completed a minimum of 25 percent of the required college level credits (15-16 credits) for an associate degree at a participating Tennessee associate degree granting institution;
  • Earned a minimum of 60 combined two- and four-year college level credits;
  • Met all requirements for an associate degree as outlined in the student’s associate degree catalog; and
  • Consented to the exchange of transcript information and transcripts from any four-year university attended, high school diploma (if needed) and your former two-year institution for the purpose of a degree audit and confirmation of a degree award.

How does Tennessee Reverse Transfer work?

It’s easy—Tennessee Reverse Transfer is a semi-automated process – participating four-year institutions identify potentially eligible students twice a year (fall and spring semester).  Those students receive an email inviting them to opt-in (consent) to the process by agreeing to share all of their two-year and four-year transcript information and/or transcripts (including high school) for a preliminary degree audit and degree award confirmation.

Those students who opt-in and appear to meet the requirements for an associate degree will have an official degree audit run by their former two-year school.  Students will be notified by the two-year school if the degree will be awarded and the diploma will be mailed.

It’s that simple—you do not have to apply for graduation, or request that your transcripts be sent back to your previous school.  Your consent to participate is enough to put the process in motion.

I missed the deadline to opt-in this semester, but I want the degree audit. What do I do now?

At this point, you have two options. You can wait until next semester and opt-in when you receive the email or you can initiate the process yourself. To initiate the process, you will need to contact your former 2-year institution's records office and explain that you missed the deadline to opt-in to Tennessee Reserve Transfer and inquire about their degree application process. Typically, the degree application will be online. You will also need to contact your 4-year institution and arrange to have your official transcript sent to your former 2-year institution. It's a little more work on your part, but it could be well-worth the effort!    

What if I want to participate in graduation?

Your previous school will provide information about graduation ceremonies and cap and gown rental/purchase.

If I graduate with an associate degree, does that mean I cannot return to my associate degree granting school and take additional courses or pursue another degree there?

No.  As long as you meet that school’s admission criteria and are eligible for admission, you may pursue additional coursework or degrees in the future.  

What if it’s been a long time since I worked on my associate degree?

Each participating associate degree granting institution determines how far back it can consider credits for a degree.  Typically, the institutions consider credits from 5-7 years. You may want to contact the records office at your former 2-year institution for more specific information.

What will a Tennessee Reverse Transfer associate degree cost me?

Nothing.  There are no “hidden” fees – if you opt-in to the process, your university and your former community college will provide your transcript information and exchange copies of your transcript(s) free of charge!  And there are no graduation application fees.  

What if I have some sort of “hold” on my account?

If you have a “hold” on your account, you will not receive an associate degree. You will need to contact your former community college to learn about a “hold” you may have on your account.

What schools are participating in Reverse Transfer?

All public Tennessee community colleges and universities are participating in Tennessee Reverse Transfer; many of the independent/private Tennessee colleges and universities are also participating.

I’m already enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program—why should I get my associate’s degree?

The associate degree is a marketable credential and an important milestone in your education. Employers value the associate degree as evidence of your commitment to expanding your knowledge and achieving your educational goals. The associate degree can make a difference in your long-term success.

The main reason is that you have earned it!  You should get the recognition for the degree that you worked so hard to earn.

  • It’s free and it’s easy!
  • There is no risk– the hours earned at the four-year institution will apply appropriately toward both your associate and bachelor’s degrees.

The attainment of an associate degree is a sign of persistence and dedication.

  • Students who earn a Tennessee Reverse Transfer associate degree may be more likely to complete their bachelor’s degree than those who do not earn a Tennessee Reverse Transfer associate degree.
  • An associate degree can provide better job opportunities while completing your bachelor’s degree.  It is important to note that many pay raises and promotions are based on the completion of a college degree.
  • The associate degree is the nation’s fastest growing work credential; employers recognize its value when recruiting and hiring.  Earning a Tennessee Reverse Transfer associate degree can help you stand out!
  • If your college enrollment is interrupted for any reason, you will already have a college degree—your associate degree.  The associate degree is a form of “insurance” should life events delay your completion of a bachelor’s degree.

Do I have to participate?

No.  You will be given the option to opt-out (decline to share transcript information).  However, before you make that decision, you may want to consult with your academic advisor. 


Getting a Tennessee Reverse Transfer degree will not impact your federal, state, or institutional financial aid.  If you receive a scholarship from a private source, you may want to review the eligibility criteria.  If you are divorced or receive alimony, you may want to review your court orders.

Do I have to re-enroll in my previous school?

No.  The Tennessee Reverse Transfer process does not require you to re-enroll at the associate degree granting institution and you do not have to take more courses there.  The aim of Tennessee Reverse Transfer is for you to use what you already have completed towards an associate degree.

Am I guaranteed a degree from the associate degree granting institution?

Yes, once all final requirements are met.  Your associate degree granting institution will review your transcripts to determine if you fulfilled the degree requirements for your associate degree. 


The awarding of the degree remains at the discretion of and is subject to the degree requirements of the degree granting institution (your former two-year school).  

What if I am missing courses for my associate degree?

Like any other associate degree candidate, you will be notified by your previous school of your degree status after the official degree audit is completed. If you do not meet all degree requirements, you can contact your former community college to learn what you need to fulfill the degree requirements.  Then, if you want to complete the course work required for your associate degree, meet with your four-year academic advisor for assistance in selecting the needed coursework.  If you do not finish your associate degree requirements before you earn your bachelor’s degree, you cannot be awarded a Tennessee Reverse Transfer associate degree.

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