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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Associate Degree Programs :

Policy/Guideline Area

Academic Policies

Applicable Divisions

Community Colleges


The purpose of this policy is to establish Tennessee Board of Regent policy regarding the awarding of Associate Degrees.


  1. Associate Degree Programs
    1. It is the policy of the State Board of Regents that associate degree programs, especially those designated as career education/vocational education should be delivered by community colleges.
    2. In cities where there is a community college and a university, the community college shall be given exclusive rights to offer associate degree programs.
    3. In areas where there is a defined and documented need for associate degree programs, but no readily accessible community college, the university may be given permission to offer the program provided a feasibility study has demonstrated that it is not economical for the community college to offer the program directly or through a cooperative arrangement with the university.
      1. Normally the feasibility study will be undertaken by the university desiring to offer the associate degree program and the most convenient community college.
      2. A member of the Board staff and a staff member from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission may be asked to serve on the study team.
      3. Together the two institutions will determine the most economical and suitable way to deliver the desired associate degree program.
      4. In every case, the needs of prospective students will be a paramount consideration in the final decision.
    4. In each instance where conditions warrant that a university requests approval to offer an associate degree program, the State Board of Regents shall evaluate the request in terms of the standard program criteria used by the Board and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
    5. It is the intent of the State Board of Regents to remain at all times sensitive to the need to preserve the role and scope of each institution as well as to satisfy the needs of the residents of Tennessee.
    6. This policy does not affect any programs currently offered by an institution.



T.C.A. § 49-8-203


TBR Meetings, June 20, 1975; September 30, 1983