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Inter-Institutional Relationships & Off-Campus Offerings (formerly A-020) :

Policy/Guideline Area

Academic Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges


This policy establishes the protocols and processes for creating collaboration between TBR institutions regarding off-campus offerings in order to maximize student access and success in quality academic programs.



  • A Dual Enrollment Site is a high school campus or other local education agency-owned facility used to offer dual enrollment section(s) of a college course.
  • An Off-Campus Instructional Site is a location physically apart from the institution’s main campus at which instruction is delivered. It involves a significant continuing commitment of institutional resources and fulfills standards established for sites by the SACSCOC or COE, whichever is applicable.
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the regional accrediting body that accredits the community colleges in the TBR system.
  • Council on Occupational Education (COE) is the national accrediting agency that accredits the technical colleges in the TBR system.



  1. Policy Provisions
    1. The Tennessee Board of Regents recognizes and strongly supports Tennessee's long-standing public policy of providing access for Tennesseans to public higher education.
    2. Residents in economically distressed counties have limited access to and lower participation rates in higher education.
    3. The Tennessee Board of Regents directs its institutions to seek every means of facilitating student access and fostering their participation in the programs that the institutions provide.
    4. The Board takes special note of the many citizens who, because of economic, family, work conditions, and geographic location, may find participation in post-secondary education difficult, if not impossible.
    5. The Board encourages its institutions to provide citizens both off-campus and technologically-delivered instruction, while also providing support services such as sponsored scholarships, and financial aid.




  1. Quality and Efficiency Standards
    1. Academic quality, access, and resourcefulness & efficiency must be the controlling factors in decision making regarding relationships between institutions and courses/programs delivered at off-campus sites.
    2. Institutions must, in all circumstances, ensure that the quality of instruction meets or exceeds the national standards of good practice and is comparable in quality to the instruction provided on the main campus.
  2. Selection of Off-Campus Instructional Facilities
    1. Off-campus instructional facilities must be both conducive to learning and efficient in their operation.
    2. As a norm, institutions will seek to offer instruction in schools, community buildings, industrial training centers, and other such facilities where suitable space is provided at little or no cost to the institution and the state.
    3. All off-campus instructional facilities must be assigned either a site code or center code by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. TBR approval is required prior to THEC authorization with an appropriate code as defined in TBR Policy Approval of Academic Programs, Units, and Modifications and in THEC policy on Off Campus Instruction.
  3. Off-Campus Offerings
    1. Each site’s purpose shall be to support the mission of the institution. 
    2. Course and program delivery by joint institutional off-campus sites shall be determined by written agreement between participating institutions and approved by the Chancellor.
    3. The president of each institution must designate a contact regarding off-campus offerings.
  4. Service Area
    1. An institution desiring to create a new off-campus site or offer a new program at an off-campus site will conduct a joint service area market needs analysis with such service area’s total asset mapping in mind. All TBR institutions within such service area (Technical Colleges and Community Colleges) will participate by providing relevant data at their disposal and will collaborate in the decision-making process. 
    2. Prior to communicating with client groups, the president of the institution contemplating off-campus, credit-bearing offerings within the service area of other TBR institution(s) (both community colleges and TCATs) shall communicate its proposal in writing to the presidents of the institution(s) within client’s service area. The institution(s) receiving the request shall respond in writing no later than thirty (30) days after receipt of the proposal letter stating their intent of engagement with the client. The institution(s) receiving the request have the first right of refusal to provide the service if it can do so in a reasonable time frame. If the receiving institution(s) do not wish to provide the service, it shall work with other institutions to make the service available to the client if possible. The receiving institution(s) shall notify the proposing institution of one of the following:
      1. The institution placing the request may offer the program(s)/course(s) in question for the client until such time as the service area institutions should want to do so, or
      2. The institution placing the request may not offer the program(s)/course(s) in question because the service area institution has the capacity and will to do so, or
      3. The institution placing the request may not offer the program(s)/course(s) in question and the program(s)/course(s) will not be offered by the service area institution. In such a case, a justification as to why they may not offer the courses must be included.
    3. If a client initiates contact with a TBR institution to request the provision of course offerings, training, or other academic services outside of their service area, the president of the contacted institution shall communicate that contact with the president of the TBR institution of the same level (community college or TCAT) of the client’s service area within thirty (30) days and prior to contract negotiations with the client.
    4. In the event an accord cannot be reached by the representatives of each institution, the institutions shall refer the matter to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, who may consult with the Vice Chancellor for Economic and Community Development if non-credit workforce training partners are involved. The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs has the authority to grant permission for an institution to partner with a client outside its primary service area, if such client offers evidence that such a partnership best meets the needs of its students.
    5. Proposed contracts for regional or statewide delivery of courses and programs to business entities or special interest groups must be in accordance with Board policy.
  5.  Exceptions
    1. Exceptions to this policy may be made upon recommendation of a president and approval by the Chancellor. 




T.C.A. § 49-8-203; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools rules and regulations; Tennessee Higher Education guidelines.


February 10, 1978 TBR Presidents meeting; Presidents meeting July 1, 1984; Revised at Board Meeting April 7, 2020.