Gov. Bill Haslam’s vision to provide a tuition-free opportunity for every Tennessee student to earn a college credential is now a reality beginning with students graduating high school with the class of 2015.
Called Tennessee Promise, the program offers two years of tuition-free community or technical college to Tennessee high school graduates beginning with this upcoming graduating class.
“Tennessee Promise and its impact on our students, families and communities can be a real game-changer as we prepare more of our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox. “I strongly encourage all of our high school seniors and their families to talk with their guidance counselors about the Tennessee Promise, and I hope all Warren County residents who want to make a real, positive impact on the lives of these students and the future of our local economy to sign up as volunteer mentors. By working together, we can be a model for Tennessee and the nation.”
Per statute, Tennessee Promise students must work with a partnering organization in order to access the financial assistance. Warren County students will work with tnAchieves, a non-profit organization committed to increasing the number of students with a post-secondary degree.
Coupled with the Tennessee Promise scholarship, every student will be paired with a mentor to support the student through admission and financial aid paperwork, motivate the student to meet deadlines, and perhaps most importantly, encourage the student to reach his/ her potential.
TnAchieves is currently recruiting volunteer mentors in Warren County. Mentors spend approximately one hour monthly working with high school seniors to ensure they make a smooth transition from high school to college. TnAchieves will train all mentor applicants, provide them with a mentor handbook, and communicate with them throughout their experience with the program. To apply, visit www.tnachieves.org/mentor-application.
TnAchieves’ mission aligns with Gov. Haslam’s Drive to 55 campaign which seeks to increase the post-secondary attainment rate to 55 percent by 2025.
In the past six years, more than 12,000 students have enrolled at a post-secondary institution with tnAchieves support. Of these students, more than 65 percent were the first in their families to attend college and nearly 70 percent come from families who earn less than $50,000 annually. The program has a 90 percent FAFSA filing rate; a 71 percent fall-fall retention rate (average Tennessee community college retention rate is 59 percent); and a 33 percent three-year graduation rate (average Tennessee community college three-year graduation rate is 11 percent).
For information on tnAchieves, contact executive director Krissy DeAlejandro at 865-621-9223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.