Chattanooga State Extends ‘MTSU Promise’ to Students For Seamless Transfers


Middle Tennessee State University signed an agreement Tuesday (Oct. 29) to extend the “MTSU Promise” to Chattanooga State Community College, the eighth such pathway established for students with associate degrees to move seamlessly to the four-year university.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Chattanooga State President Rebecca Ashford signed the documents at the Chattanooga Convention Center, where MTSU was holding a True Blue Tour event to recruit prospective students and also court high school counselors and community college staff.

MTSU is No. 1 in the state in transfer students and is the top institution using the reverse transfer process. Chattanooga State is one of MTSU’s key transfer feeder schools.

Chattanooga State, whose main campus is in Chattanooga, plus two satellite campuses and offering 26 online courses, is the eighth community college to join the MTSU Promise program, where 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 a similar agreement Oct. 22 with Volunteer State Community College and earlier this year with Columbia State. He signed agreements last year with Motlow State, Cleveland State, Southwest Tennessee (Memphis) and Dyersburg State. MTSU recruiters are currently visiting colleges to recruit prospective transfer students.

While together, Ashford and McPhee also signed a memorandum of understanding between the college’s Global Scholars Honors Program, which has 250 students presently, and the University Honors College.

“We are pleased with the partnership, but we’re taking it to another level,” McPhee said. “They can transfer from Chattanooga State hassle-free. They have a long, tradition of sending outstanding students to MTSU. … This is an example of collaboration and partnerships of public institutions working toward the betterment of citizens of the state.”

Ashford said the partnership “is all about an amazing opportunity for our Chattanooga State students. There will be no hassles, it’s affordable … and they will have a seamless transition to MTSU.”

The “promise” agreement calls for Chattanooga 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 Chattanooga 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 Chattanooga State once sufficient credits have been completed at MTSU.

Through its existing Guaranteed Transfer Scholarship Program, MTSU will provide aid for Chattanooga 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 Chattanooga State.

Deb Sells, MTSU’s vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services, said the MTSU Promise is a program where Chattanooga State and other community college students can begin to consider their bachelor’s degree as they begin their associate degree.

MTSU will also assure to such students that if they complete 60 credits with a 3.0 GPA at Chattanooga State, they will be guaranteed admission and a scholarship to attend MTSU for their last two years of study, Sells said.

For details about the MTSU/Chattanooga State Promise, visit for a comprehensive explanation of transferring to MTSU after receiving an associate degree, visit

Regarding the “Honors Program MOU,” Amanda Bennett, director of the Chatt State honors program, said “it gives our students assurance the credits they’ve earned at Chattanooga State will go with them to MTSU” after previously having one standing, informal agreement with the MTSU Honors College.

Other MTSU administrators and academic staff attended the signing, which followed the True Blue Tour luncheon.

Joining Ashford and Bennett from Chattanooga State at the signing were Beth Norton, vice president of Academic Affairs.; Debbie Adams, vice president of Student Affairs; Brad McCormick, assistant VP of Student Affairs; and Mosunmola George-Taylor, associate VP of Academic Affairs.

Chattanooga State’s other campuses are in Dayton and Kimball. To learn more, visit online.