Middle Tennessee State University signed an agreement to extend the MTSU Promise to Dyersburg State Community College, the fourth such pathway established for students with associate degrees to move seamlessly to the four-year university.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Dyersburg State President Karen A. Bowyer signed the documents in Dyersburg State's Learning Resource Center Sells Family Lobby as MTSU continued its West Tennessee leg of its True Blue Tour, a 14-city, four-state caravan to recruit prospective students last week:
Dyersburg is the fourth community college to join the MTSU Promise program, in which the university pledges support to help students at partner schools complete their associate degree, then move forward in seeking a four-year degree.
McPhee signed agreements earlier this year with Motlow State and Cleveland State community colleges and Southwest Tennessee last week.
"I am very pleased to strengthen our already strong relationship with Dyersburg State," McPhee said. "And we want to take the hassle out of the student transfer process."
Bowyer said she looks forward to renewing the partnership with MTSU, saying "it can help many students transferring from Dyersburg to Middle Tennessee State. We look forward to continuing these services to students here and get them prepared for Murfreesboro."
"This agreement will enable DSCC students to transfer to MTSU knowing that all courses will apply to the degree they intend to complete at the university," Bowyer added.
The agreement calls for Dyersburg State to share with MTSU directory information of the college's students so they are included in tailored communications of emails and hard-copy mailings that support the process of planning for the bachelor's degree after successful completion of the associate degree.
Also, the agreement says Dyersburg State students who agree to participate in the MTSU Promise will sign a "reverse transfer" agreement, meaning if they fail to complete their associate degrees prior to transfer, they would automatically receive their associate degree from Dyersburg once sufficient credits have been completed at MTSU.
MTSU is No. 1 in the state in transfer students and is the top institution using the reverse transfer process.
Through its existing Guaranteed Transfer Scholarship Program, MTSU will provide aid for Dyersburg State students who transfer to MTSU in the amount of $3,000 per year for two years, or a maximum of four semesters, based on achievement of a 3.0 GPA.
Students transferring to MTSU will not be eligible to apply to receive the Guaranteed Transfer Scholarship until after completing 45 credit hours at Dyersburg.
Deb Sells, MTSU's vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment services, said the application deadline annually is Feb. 15, which means the majority of participating Dyersburg State students will have completed 60 credits before transfer.
Sells also said MTSU will revise letters of rejection for students in the Dyersburg service area who apply to MTSU for freshman admission, but who are not admitted.
The letters will also say the student is being placed in a "deferred admission" category, and that MTSU recommends that they enroll at Dyersburg for two years of study under the Tennessee Promise, the state-funded scholarship that pays tuition and fees for two-year colleges.
MTSU will also guarantee to such students that if they complete 60 credits with a 3.0 GPA at Dyersburg, they will be guaranteed admission and a scholarship to attend MTSU for their last two years of study, Sells said.
McPhee added the agreement is a win-win for both Dyersburg State and MTSU.
"This MTSU Promise is pretty exciting," McPhee said. "We want to do everything possible to make it a seamless transition where students are not jumping through too many hoops. You (Dyersburg State) have outstanding students. We want to make sure they flourish at MTSU."
"Communication between DSCC and MTSU will be enhanced as a result of this agreement," Bowyer said. "This improved access to a baccalaureate degree will assist many students in the DSCC service area as they continue their higher education at MTSU."
While on the Dyersburg campus, Bowyer led McPhee and MTSU representatives on a tour of nursing facilities featuring laboratory details from Dean of Nursing Amy Johnson.