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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Admissions : 2:03:00:00

Policy/Guideline Area

Academic Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities

Purpose

The following policy and procedures are adopted as consistent admission policy throughout the Tennessee Board of Regents system. Each university and community college shall develop policy and procedures consistent with this policy for the admission of students to undergraduate degree programs.

Definitions

  • Adequate coverage - adequate coverage shall mean that the student's coverage meets or exceeds the level of coverage provided to participants in the TBR's Student/Scholar Health & Accident Insurance Plan.
  • Dual enrollment - is the enrollment of a high school student in one or more specified college course(s) for which the student will be awarded both high school and college credit.
  • Joint enrollment - is the enrollment of a high school student in one or more college course for which the student will earn only college credit.

Policy/Guideline

  1. Provisions for all Institutions
    1. Policy Development
      1. Each institution governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents shall develop an admission policy consistent with the provisions of this policy and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Non-discrimination on the Basis of Handicap) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and submit it to the Tennessee Board of Regents for approval.
      2. Each institution shall include its approved admission policy in its catalog or other appropriate publications.
    2. Policy Revision
      1. Any subsequent change to an approved admission policy shall, prior to implementation, be submitted to the Tennessee Board of Regents for review and approval.
    3. Medical or Health Information
      1. Each institution shall require all applicants for admission to provide health information that, at a minimum, establishes the applicant’s compliance with Rules promulgated by the Tennessee Department of Health regarding requirements for immunization against certain diseases prior to attendance at a higher education institution, and, compliance with the latest standards for immunization for meningococcal disease as set forth by the recommended immunization schedule issued by the Center for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
      2. Prior to full-time attendance at a higher education institution, the student must provide documentation that illustrates receipt of the required immunizations.
      3. New, incoming students who live in on-campus student housing must comply with the latest standards for immunization for meningococcal disease as set forth by the recommended immunization schedule issued by the Center for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
      4. Once a student is enrolled full-time at any Tennessee Board of Regents institution, the student shall be deemed as satisfying the requirement for immunizations, and upon transfer to any other Tennessee Board of Regents institution, will have the requirement for documentation of immunizations waived. 
  2. Provisions for Universities and Community Colleges
    1. General Provisions
      1. Admission of Non-Tennessee Residents
        1. Each university and community college may establish minimum criteria for the admission of residents of states other than Tennessee which exceed the minimum criteria established for residents of the state.
      2. Residency Classification
        1. Each university and community college shall, in the admission or readmission process, assign each student a residency classification using TBR Policy No. 3:05:01:00 Regulations for Classifying Students In-State and Out-of-State for the Purposes of Paying College or University Fees and Tuition and for Admission Purposes.
      3. Admission of International Non-Immigrant Applicants
        1. Each university and community college will establish policies and procedures for the admission of international non-immigrant applicants in accordance with the following criteria:
          1. Educational Level. The educational level attained must be comparable to that required of U.S. applicants.
          2. Proof of English Language Proficiency for Non-Native English Language Speakers. In order to determine an applicant's level of proficiency in the English language, each university and community college shall require that applicants whose native language is not English submit scores earned on the Test of English Language Proficiency (TOEFL), the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or one of the other recognized comparable standardized examinations or through a standardized examination developed at the individual institution. Courses completed at another U. S. institution may be used in lieu of standardized examination scores.
          3. Financial Statement. In order to determine the international student's ability to pay registration fees, non-resident fees, living and other expenses, each institution shall require international applicant to supply evidence of financial capability.
          4. Immigration Service Regulations. Institutions must adhere to all U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service regulations in the admission, enrollment, and readmission of international non-immigrant applicants.
          5. Certification of Freedom from Tuberculosis. All international non-immigrant students applying for admission pursuant to a student visa shall submit within thirty (30) days from the first day of classes a certificate from a licensed physician or other qualified medical authority verifying freedom from tuberculosis. Failure to submit such certification shall result in denial of admission or continued enrollment. In the event that a student has tuberculosis or has potential tuberculosis requiring medical treatment, continued enrollment will be conditioned upon the determination by a licensed physician that further enrollment is not a risk to others and upon the student's compliance with any prescribed medical treatment program.
          6. Medical and Hospitalization Insurance. Each institution must require that international non-immigrant applicants with J, F, or M visas have and maintain medical and hospitalization insurance as a condition of admission and continued enrollment at the institution. Applicants with J visas must also carry adequate medical and hospitalization insurance for spouses and dependents. Institutions may require similar insurance coverage of all other international non-immigrant applicants.
        2. Institutions shall establish this requirement in policy and shall establish a process for:
          1. Informing applicants for admission of the coverage required and of its approximate cost of coverage and options for accessing insurance;
          2. Informing applicants of the documents that will be acceptable as proof of medical and hospitalization coverage; and
          3. Automatically enrolling in the TBR recommended insurance plan those international non-immigrant students who do not otherwise have adequate coverage. Enrollment shall take place not later than at the time of class registration, and the cost of the coverage shall be added to the student's registration fees.
      4. Admission to Specialized or Limited-Enrollment Programs
        1. Each university and community college shall develop specific policy and procedures for admission of students to programs or courses with enrollment limitations and/or specialized curricula.
        2. Such limitations should be based upon selective criteria appropriate to the program or course which apply equally to all prospective students, provided that preference for admission be given to residents of the State of Tennessee. (Incorporates former TBR Policy No. 2:03:00:05 - see TBR Meeting September 30, 1983)
        3. A number of factors such as accreditation and professional certification standards, limited clinical and classroom space, faculty availability, and a concern for appropriate student progress influence the selective admissions process to certain undergraduate programs.
          1. Students must meet the application criteria, be reviewed and accepted for admission, and make satisfactory progress to be admitted and continue in these academic programs.
          2. Institutions may vary in their admission requirements based on their analysis of student success characteristics.
          3. Admission and progression policies related to selective programs should reflect the likelihood of being admitted to the major at the earliest possible point and contain information on grade point average, standardized test scores, and grade expectations in specified high school courses indicative of success in the field.
        4. Admission and progression policies should be clearly displayed in all materials to prospective applicants.
      5. Admission to Medical, Nursing, and Allied Health Programs
        1. Each university and community college that offers medical, nursing, or allied health programs shall require that all persons admitted to such programs:
          1. Provide evidence through a health verification form, that at a minimum, establish the applicants compliance with the Rules promulgated by the Tennessee Department of Health regarding requirements for immunization against certain diseases, including the Hepatitis B vaccine, and other communicable diseases. 
          2. Be, with reasonable accommodation, physically and mentally capable of performing the essential functions of the program as defined in writing by the institution.
      6. Advanced Standing and Placement
        1. Each university and community college may develop policies and procedures for granting admission with advanced placement or standing based on examination, experiential learning, and active duty in the armed services, credit earned in armed services schools, and credit earned through non-collegiate sponsored instruction consistent with TBR Policy 2:01:00:04 Awarding of Credits Earned Through Extra-Institutional Learning to Community Colleges and Universities.
      7. Readmission
        1. Each university and community college shall develop policies and procedures for the readmission of students. These policies and procedures shall be consistent with TBR Policy No. 2:03:01:01 (Undergraduate Academic Retention Standards).
      8. Application Fee
        1. Each university and community college may, with prior approval of the Board, charge a one-time non-refundable application fee.
    2. Undergraduate Degree Admission
      1. Admission of First-Time Freshmen
        1. Applicants for degree admission as first-time freshmen shall be admitted using the following four (4) criteria:
          1. High School Graduation. Except as provided for below in Section II.B.1.a,(2) applicants for degree admission as first-time freshmen must provide an official transcript showing graduation from high school. The transcript of graduates of Tennessee public high schools must include a notation indicating that the student passed the required Proficiency Examination.
          2. High School Diploma or Equivalency
            1. Effective January 1, 2014, applicants for degree admission as first-time freshmen may present either the 2014 GED@ test or the HiSETTM in lieu of a high school diploma provided that their GED@ test or the HiSETTM score meets or exceeds the minimum score set by the institution.
          3. Standardized Examination Scores
            1. Applicants for admission as first-time freshmen who are 20 years of age or younger must present Enhanced ACT, SAT scores. Applicants who are 21 years of age and above, may submit the ACT or SAT score or scores from an approved nationally normed standardized assessment of mathematics, reading, and writing.
            2. Universities will use the scores for admission in keeping with recommended best practices, advisement, and as a component in the placement decision. Community colleges and technical institutes will not use the scores for admission purposes, but may use them for advisement purposes as well as a component in the placement decision.
          4. High School Course Requirements
            1. Effective January 1, 2014, the TBR agreed to accept the curriculum requirements as set by the Tennessee Department of Education with the implementation of the Tennessee Diploma Project of 2009. Admission will be granted to freshmen applicants who hold a recognized high school diploma that includes a distribution of college preparatory courses, such as those required in the core elements of the Tennessee High School Diploma. These courses include the following:
              1. 4 Credits of English
              2. 4 Credits of Math, including Algebra I and II, Geometry and a fourth higher level math class.
              3. 3 Credits of Science, including Biology, Chemistry or Physics, and a third Lab Course.
              4. 3 Credits of Social Studies, including United States History* and Geography, World History and Geography, U.S. Government and Civics, and Economics.
                 *T.C.A § 49-7-110 requires the completion of six semester credit hours of American History by any individual in any non-exempted area of study to be granted a baccalaureate of any kind from any institution of higher learning or community college supported or maintained by the state. Persons in exempted fields of study need not fulfill this requirement if they successfully completed a course in American History in high school. Any student has the option, at the student's request, to substitute three semester hours of Tennessee History for the American History requirement.
              5. 1.5 Credits of Physical Education and Wellness
              6. 2 Credits of a Single Foreign Language
              7.  0.5 Credits of Personal Finance
              8. ​1 Credit of Fine Arts
              9. 3 Credits of Electives consisting of Math and Science, Career and Technical Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)
            2. Applicants who graduated prior to the adoption of the Tennessee Diploma Project curriculum by the TBR who hold a high school diploma are exempt from the diploma requirements with the exception of those in T.C.A. § 47-7-110 as described in Section II.B.4.a.(iv).
          5. Out-of-State Applicants
            1. Applicants who are residents of states other than Tennessee are subject to the same admission requirements as in-state applicants.
      2. Early Admission of First-Time Freshmen
        1. Each university and community college may develop procedures for the admission of applicants who have completed their junior year in high school.
        2. The minimum requirements for admission of applicants in this category shall be the following:
          1. High School GPA
            1. Applicants must have completed the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades with a minimum grade point average of 3.2 based on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent.
          2. Standardized Examination Score
            1. Applicants must have an Enhanced ACT composite score of at least 22 or a comparable ACT Compass score.
          3. Prescribed Courses
            1. Applicants must provide a written statement from their high school principal specifying the college courses that will be substituted for the remaining high school courses needed for high school graduation.
          4. Endorsements
            1. Applicants shall provide written endorsements from their high school counselors and from their parents or guardians.
      3. Admission of Transfer Students
        1. Each university and community college shall establish policy and procedures for the admission of transfer students that are consistent with the TBR Policy 2:01:00:00 General Education & Degree Requirements, Sections II and III, and with the following criteria:
          1. The applicant must provide official transcripts of credits attempted from all institutions of higher education previously attended.
          2. The applicant's grade point average on transferable courses must be at least equal to that which the institution requires for the readmission of its own students. Applicants who do not meet the institution's standards may be admitted on scholastic probation or other appropriate condition.
          3. Institutions must develop policy and publish criteria regarding the awarding of transfer credit from collegiate and non-collegiate institutions, credit by examination, military and other formal training, experiential learning, and academic fresh start. Such policies and procedures must, at a minimum, be consistent with national standards of good practice,the requirements of appropriate accrediting bodies, and consistent with TBR Policy 2:01:00:04 Awarding of Credits Earned Through Extra-Institutional Learning to Community Colleges and Universities and TBR Policy 2:03:01:01 Undergraduate Academic Retention Standards.
            1. Institutions may determine a subset if grade point average is used to determine admission to selective programs.
      4. Admission of Non-Degree Students to Degree Admission Status
        1. Each university and community college may develop policy and procedures for granting degree admission to non-degree students.
        2. To be eligible for Degree Admission status, non-degree students, as defined in Section II.D. below, must meet all the applicable provisions of Section II.B.1.a.(1)-(4) above.
    3. Graduate and Professional Degree Admission
      1. Universities shall develop policy, procedures, and specific criteria for admitting applicants to graduate and professional degree programs. Such policies and procedures must, as a minimum, be consistent with national standards of good practice and the requirements of appropriate accrediting bodies.
      2. Admission
        1. Generally, graduate administrative units set a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) that an applicant should have earned in order to be considered for admission.
          1. Departments may set higher minimum standards for admission.
          2. Departments may also stipulate the minimum GPA to be achieved in the desired major during the final year or two of the undergraduate studies.
        2. Individual institutions may determine to offer varying degrees of admission, i.e., full conditional or provisional.
        3. Official Transcripts
          1. Institutions may require official transcripts (undergraduate and graduate) issued directly by all institutions attended to be submitted either upon application or acceptance.
          2. The individual institution may determine whether or not to accept three year undergraduate degrees in keeping with the international education reform, i.e., Bologna process or to make exception for students seeking political or social asylum prior to the completion of undergraduate work.
        4. Standardized Examination Scores
          1. The institution may request dates and scores for one of more assessment tests such as the GRE, GMAT, the MAT, the IELTS and/or TOEFL.
          2. Scores should be submitted directly from the testing organization and not the student within the time limitations of use set by the testing organizations.
        5. Proof of English Competency
          1. All students for whom English is not the first language, with the possible exception of individuals who have completed a prior degree at an accredited institution in an English speaking nation, must provide proof of English proficiency.
          2. Institutions may administer additional assessments for oral and written competencies for applicants and accepted students for whom English is not the first language if they have been offered graduate assistantships where they will be required to teach.
          3. Institutions must provide assistance to those students awarded assistantships to improve their English language proficiency if the assessment shows deficiencies prior to placing those applicants or students in the classroom.
        6. Required Materials for Graduate Degree Application
          1. Regardless of the standards set by the individual academic units, all applications should include at a minimum the following components:
            1. An application form
            2. Transcripts of all previous academic work (with certified translations for Non-English transcripts) from which an undergraduate GPA may be calculated
            3. Letters of recommendation
            4. Proof of English competency for international students for whom English is not their first language, with the exception of those who have completed a degree at an accredited institution in an English speaking country.
      3. Admission of Undergraduates to Graduate Courses
        1. Institutions may grant permission to undergraduate students with exceptional academic backgrounds to graduate coursework as part of their undergraduate experience.
      4. Admission of Transfer Graduate Students
        1. Students applying for transfer from one graduate institution to another should submit the same admission materials as the typical first time graduate applicant. If granted admission, the student should be informed of the number of hours which will be transferrable.
        2. Each university shall establish policy and procedures for the admission of transfer graduate students that are consistent with the following criteria:
          1. The applicant must provide transcripts of credits attempted from all institutions of higher learning previously attended, if required by the graduate institution.
          2. The applicant’s grade point average (GPA) on transferrable courses must be at least equal to that which the institution required for the readmission of its own students. Applicants who do not meet the institution’s standards may be admitted on scholastic probation or other appropriate conditions.
          3. Institutions must develop policy and publish criteria regarding the awarding of transfer credit from other universities or colleges, credit by examination, military and other formal training, and experiential learning as well as policies for Academic Fresh Start. Such policies and procedures must, as a minimum, be consistent with national standards of good practice and the requirements of appropriate accrediting bodies
    4. Non-Degree Admission for Undergraduate and Graduate Applicants
      1. Each university and community college shall develop policy and procedures for admitting undergraduate and graduate applicants who wish to take credit courses, but who either do not qualify for or do not wish to apply for degree admission.
      2. Policies shall include any conditions of enrollment and any term or overall credit-hour limitations.
      3. Applicants who are eligible for non-degree admission include:
        1. Persons Not Previously Enrolled in College
          1. High School Graduates
          2. Persons 21 years of age or older who have not earned a high school diploma and are not currently enrolled in high school.
          3. Persons 18 years of age or older who have not earned a high school diploma or are not currently enrolled in high school and wish to enroll in HSE preparatory courses only.
          4. High school students who meet the following criteria as specified in T.C.A. § 49-6-3111:
            1. Academically talented/gifted students enrolled in grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 in public or private high schools in Tennessee may, with the recommendation and approval of the high school principal and appropriate higher education institution personnel, enroll in and receive regular college degree credit from a Tennessee postsecondary institution if such a student has a grade point average equivalent to 3.2 on a 4.0 maximum basis and if such placement is a part of the student's planned Individual Education Program (IEP) as established by the multi-disciplinary team process.
            2. High school students who are in their freshman year of high school. Such students may be admitted for either joint enrollment or dual enrollment or both. For the purposes of this policy, the terms joint and dual enrollment are defined in the "Definitions" section. Dual Enrollment students must meet the following eligibility criteria:
              1. The student must be enrolled as a 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade student in a Tennessee public or nonpublic secondary school, or in a home education program.
              2. The student may enroll in a specific course based on the course's specific placement requirements as determined by the campus.
              3. The student must enroll in dual enrollment courses in the general education core, Tennessee Pathways leading to a degree, Career and Technical Program of study leading to an academic award, or middle college or equivalent program.
              4. The student must provide secondary institution permission/approval. Additionally, a minor (under 18 years of age) must provide parental/guardian permission/approval. 
        2. Persons with College Credit but Not a Degree
          1. Persons who earned credits but not a degree at another college and are eligible for readmission to the last institution attended.
          2. Those who do not meet the readmission standards of the last institution attended may be admitted on scholastic probation or other established condition.
        3. Persons with a College Degree or Certificate
          1. Persons who have a degree or certificate equivalent to the highest degree or certificate offered by the institution in a particular field but who wish to take additional courses.
          2. Persons who do not qualify for or do not wish to apply for graduate degree admission.
        4. Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons
          1. Totally and permanently disabled persons and persons 65 years of age or older.
          2. No fees other than a service fee in the amount authorized by the Tennessee Board of Regents may be charged.
          3. In the case of disabled persons, the institution may require an affidavit or certificate of disability from a physician or from the agency compensating the disabled person.
          4. Admission under this provision may, however, be limited or denied based on the availability of space in the individual classroom.
    5. Audit and No-Credit Admission
      1. Each university and community college shall develop policy and procedures for the admission of persons wishing only to audit courses or to take credit courses on a no-credit basis. The following provisions shall apply:
        1. Space Available Basis
          1. Admission may be limited or denied based on the availability of space in the individual classroom.
        2. Senior Citizens
          1. Senior citizens age 60 or older may audit courses or take credit courses on a no-credit basis free of any charge.
        3. Disabled Persons
          1. Totally and permanently disabled persons may audit courses or take credit courses on a no-credit basis free of any charge.
          2. Institutions may, however, require an affidavit or certificate of disability from a physician or from the agency compensating the disabled person.
    6. Admission of Non-Degree Students to Degree Admission Status
      1. Each institution should develop policy and procedures for granting degree seeking admission status to non-degree students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
    7. Continuous Enrollment and Residency Requirements Upon Admission for Graduate Programs
      1. Each university must develop policy and procedures for the continuous enrollment within select or all graduate programs.
      2. Each university must develop policy and procedures for a period of required residency not less than two continuous semesters for students seeking admission and enrolling in graduate programs.
        1. Residency requirements should be clearly described in application materials and on the institutional program website.
    8. Admission to Select Graduate Programs
      1. Accreditation and professional certification standards, limited clinical and classroom space, faculty availability, and a concern for appropriate student progress influence the selective admission process to the TBR graduate programs.
      2. Students must meet the application criteria, be reviewed and accepted for admission, and make satisfactory progress to be continued in all graduate programs.
      3. Institutions may vary in the defined requirements for satisfactory progress as based on their analysis of student success characteristics.
  3. Provisions for Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology
    1. All Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology shall admit applicants on a "first-come, first-serve" basis, and the following minimum criteria shall apply:
      1. Applicants not Enrolled in High School
        1. Applicants not enrolled in high school are eligible for admission provided that:
          1. They are at least eighteen (18) years of age or have a high school diploma or equivalent.
          2. They declare an occupational objective or demonstrate through testing or counseling reasonable potential for achieving that objective.
      2. Applicants Enrolled in High School
        1. Applicants enrolled in high school are eligible for admission provided that:
          1. An agreement authorizing such admission is concluded between the local Board of Education and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology. Such agreements are subject to the approval of the Chancellor or his designee.
          2. Enrollment is limited to one (1) occupational area.
      3. Admission of International Non-Immigrants
        1. Foreign non-immigrant applicants are eligible for admission if they meet the same conditions required for other applicants as well as the requirements of the U. S. Bureau of Naturalization and Immigration.
      4. Use of Standardized Tests
        1. Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology may require applicants for admission to be tested.
        2. The test results will be used by the school to assist the applicant in selecting a suitable program.
      5. Admission to Practical Nursing Program
        1. Admission to the Practical Nursing program is not automatic even though the applicant may be otherwise academically qualified and recommended by the Nursing Advisory Committee.
        2. Applicants seeking admission to the Practical Nursing program must:
          1. Make application for admission to the College of Applied Technology.
          2. Submit evidence of high school graduation or HSE equivalency.
          3. Have attained a passing score on an appropriate admission test. The admission test and minimum score shall be determined by the Executive Sub-Council of the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology Directors.
          4. Submit evidence of a recent physical examination by a licensed physician or nurse practitioner.
          5. Submit written references.
          6. Report for enrollment upon notification of acceptance.
        3. Qualified applicants not accepted into the class for which they applied may be considered for admission to a subsequent class.

Sources

TBR Meeting, August 16, 1974; September 29, 1978; June 27, 1980, September 30, 1983; December 16, 1983; June 27, 1986; September 16, 1988; December 2, 1988; June 30,1989; December 7,1990; March 20, 1992; March 19, 1993; September 17, 1993; June 23,1994; December 8, 1994; December 15, 1995; March 7, 1997; June 19, 1998; September 22, 2000; April 2, 2004; December 8, 2006; June 28, 2007; June 24, 2010; Revised December 11, 2014

The admission policy was revised in its entirety on September 30, 1983, superseding the previous policy and all amendments thereto. Revised Jan. 1, 2014 per Tennessee Alternative Diploma Act to reflect change from General Educational Development (GED) Certificate to Tennessee High School Equivalency (HSE) Diploma.

Revised at Board Meeting March 30, 2016.

Related Policies

Contact

Mickey Sheen
615-366-4437
mickey.sheen@tbr.edu