Beginning with the Class of 2015, Tennessee Promise will provide Tennessee high school graduates the opportunity to attend a community or technical college free of tuition and fees.
Tennessee Promise is both a scholarship and mentoring program that will begin in the fall of 2015. It will provide students a last-dollar scholarship, meaning the scholarship will cover tuition and fees not covered by the Pell grant, the HOPE scholarship, or TSAA funds. Students may use the scholarship at any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or other eligible institution offering an associate’s degree program. While removing the financial burden is key, a critical component of Tennessee Promise is the individual guidance each participant will receive from a mentor who will assist the student as he or she navigates the college admissions process. In addition, Tennessee Promise participants must complete eight hours of community service per term enrolled, as well as maintain satisfactory academic progress (2.0 GPA) at their institution.
The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) will administer the scholarship component of Tennessee Promise, while local, non-profit partnering organizations will coordinate the mentoring and community service pieces. County mayors selected partnering organizations for their counties in the summer of 2014. Once a student applies to the Tennessee Promise program, his or her respective partnering organization will be responsible for reaching out regarding program requirements and mentorship connections.
Partnering organizations will work with community leaders and local stakeholders to establish Tennessee Promise advisory councils that will perform several key roles: assist in recruiting volunteer mentors, educate students and parents about the program, and advocate for postsecondary education in their communities.