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University creates Hiwassee College-specific transfer policy

Following Hiwassee College’s (HC) closure announcement on March 28, 2019, Tennessee Wesleyan president, Dr. Harley Knowles, released a statement of support to the entire HC family. In his statement, President Knowles indicated that University administrators were already working on a policy that would help ease the transfer transition for current Hiwassee students. The agreement, created for those students who apply to and are accepted to the University for Fall 2019, from the Office of Academic Affairs was reviewed and approved by Wesleyan faculty and staff and released on Tuesday, April 9.

The consensus of TWU faculty has been to be as supportive as possible when evaluating credits from HC classes. “We want to make this transition as easy as possible, but also continue to make sure all TWU students – current and future – are well-prepared to enter graduate school or their career of choice,” said Dr. Grant Willhite, Vice President for Academic Affairs. While the document does not detail specific course equivalencies, it provides current Hiwassee students the assurance that every effort will be made to keep them on track for timely graduation.

Following conversations within the University and with SACSCOC (TWU’s regional accreditor), TWU administrators created statements regarding academic and affordability to complete the agreement.

1. TWU will accept Hiwassee students who are in good standing at HC and who meet the minimum transfer admission requirements at TWU.

2. TWU will accept all academic credits earned at HC, with the exception of remedial credits. TWU will evaluate all credits transferred into HC from other institutions. Every effort will be made to find equivalencies to TWU courses to accelerate degree completion.

3. HC will provide TWU with a list of courses offered at HC for the past 3 years and provide syllabi for evaluation of course equivalency, if necessary.

4. TWU will waive the requirement that no more than 90 hours may be transferred from all institutions.

5. TWU will waive the requirement to complete 25% of the degree (30 semester hours) for students who transfer greater than 90 credits and can complete their degree path in less than 30 hours (subject to SACSCOC approval of cohort).

6. TWU will make every effort to apply the general education curriculum from Hiwassee toward the completion of the general education curriculum at TWU.

7. TWU will provide HC students with timely financial aid packages and will make every effort to match the current net tuition cost at HC. For HC students who enroll full time at TWU for Fall 2019, TWU will offer last dollar summer transfer scholarships to offset the cost of Summer courses at TWU in Summer 2019.

8. TWU will make every effort to offer the courses necessary for the timely completion of degrees for HC transfer students.

Dr. Willhite added, “Tennessee Wesleyan University and Hiwassee College share a history and mission under the umbrella of the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. With an understanding of this shared history and a deep concern for the students of Hiwassee College, we established this degree completion and transfer agreement with the hope that these students will find a welcoming community here.”

A key feature of this agreement is the affordability statement which includes the establishment of a last-dollar scholarship for HC students who enroll in both Summer and Fall 2019 courses at TWU. The Hiwassee Legacy Scholarship will be awarded after HOPE and Pell have been applied to the student’s account. Assistant Vice President of Financial Aid, Lacey Weese commented, “there may be cases where students need to catch up to their classmates or need to make up a failed course. The establishment of this last-dollar award could relieve some of the current anxiety by helping make their college experience more affordable.” Tennessee Wesleyan prioritizes affordability for students and promotes one of the lowest net costs in the region. Weese adds, “we believe that our institutional aid is highly competitive and that Hiwassee students will receive similar or better award packages after we evaluate their FAFSA and transcripts.”

Hiwassee student visit day

All Hiwassee students will have the opportunity to visit campus on April 18 during a Hiwassee College-specific visit event, Experience Wesleyan. HC students can make the quick 30-minute drive to campus where they will have the opportunity to meet with faculty advisors to review their transcripts, as well as meet individually with financial aid to identify scholarships and other aid they may receive. Students are encouraged to submit transcripts from all colleges and universities attended prior to the event and bring their HC financial aid award letter.

Echoing President Knowles’ original sentiment, Dr. Willhite said, “the entire TWU family is ready to find ways to support the current and future students of this historic institution. We especially want current students to know that their dream of a college degree isn’t over. There is a community here ready to welcome and support them as their college journey continues.”

Students interested in applying to TWU should complete the online application and submit all transcripts to the admissions office. It cost nothing to apply, and there are no application deadlines for admission or merit scholarships.