MTSU, Nashville State Reaffirm Joint True Blue Pathway to Support Students


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The presidents of Middle Tennessee State University and Nashville State Community College huddled recently to ensure the True Blue Pathway — a partnership established in 2019 for students with an associate degree to move seamlessly to the four-year university — will be up and running when both institutions resume full campus operations for the fall.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Nashville State President Shanna L. Jackson learned during a Wednesday, June 23, meeting that, despite the pandemic, the partnership has been beneficial to both entities, including:

  • Nashville State received the most referrals by MTSU of prospective students — 66 from Aug. 1, 2020, to June 1, 2021 — among the eight community college pathway partners.
  • MTSU helped 26 of its students from Nashville State in Fall 2020 transfer credits earned at the university back to the community college and allowing them to earn an associate degree, the second-highest success rate in MTSU’s Reverse Transfer Initiative;
  • And Nashville State ranked third in new transfers to MTSU in Fall 2020 (184); total transfer students enrolled at MTSU in Fall 2020 (879); and total transfer scholarships offered and accepted (72).

McPhee said Nashville State regularly ranks among the top three in the number of graduates who began their studies at a community college.

The presidents committed to strengthening their partnership by uniting to jointly promote the True Blue Pathway. Through the pathway program, MTSU pledges support to help students at partner colleges complete their associate degree, then works with them to move forward in seeking a four-year degree on the Murfreesboro campus.

“As one of the top transfer choices for Nashville State students, we’re excited to renew this effort, because we are indeed better together,” Jackson told McPhee.

McPhee urged both schools to hone their focus on degree programs with clear ties to the needs of Nashville’s economy as both institutions advance the state’s overall mission of cultivating a more skilled workforce through higher education degrees and certifications.

“There are jobs we can help fill, and we need to make sure our students are presented with these opportunities,” McPhee said. “That is tremendous motivation.”

McPhee signed similar agreements in 2019 with Chattanooga State, Volunteer State and Columbia State and in 2018 with Motlow State, Cleveland State, Southwest Tennessee in Memphis and Dyersburg State.

MTSU recruiters will soon begin visiting colleges to recruit prospective transfer students for 2021 and beyond.

The pathway agreement calls for Nashville State and MTSU to share directory information with each other to ensure communications to support students planning for their bachelor’s degree at the university or associate degree at the college.

Through its existing Guaranteed Transfer Scholarship Program, MTSU will provide Nashville State students who transfer to the university $3,000 in aid per year for two years, or a maximum of four semesters, when they earn a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Under the Nashville State/MTSU True Blue Pathway partnership, students can begin at Nashville State, complete 60 credits with a 3.0 GPA and then be guaranteed admission and a scholarship to attend MTSU for their last two years of study, leading to a bachelor’s degree. Eligible students must apply by March 1 to be considered for the scholarship upon enrollment the following fall semester.

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

Nashville State has the White Bridge campus (West Nashville), Southeast campus (Antioch), East Davidson campus (Donelson), Clarksville campus, Dickson campus and Humphreys County campus. The College’s North Davidson campus in Madison is expected to open spring 2022.

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