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AT&T Donates $130,000 to Community Colleges(2)

AT&T* has announced a $130,000 contribution to the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) to support students enrolled in the new accelerated pathways technical certificate and degree programs in Tennessee community colleges. The AT&T Completion Scholarship Program will fund scholarships to help community college students statewide begin a path toward completing their college degrees. The announcement was made at Nashville State Community College.

“We are pleased to help Tennessee students who are acquiring the skills they need to enter the workforce,” said Gregg Morton, President of AT&T Tennessee. “Accelerated certificate and degree programs are a great way to ensure our students are fully prepared to enter the workforce and that they can find good jobs right here in Tennessee when they graduate.” (Watch and listen to Gregg Morton at the press conference.)

“This generous donation to Tennessee’s community colleges will make a large impact in advancing public higher education in Tennessee,” said Chancellor John Morgan. “We’re very grateful to AT&T for helping us maintain our forward momentum. The initiatives this contribution will fund will directly enhance and promote our completion agenda." (Watch and listen to Chancellor Morgan at the press conference.)

Each of the state’s 13 community colleges will receive $10,000 to award scholarships to encourage students to participate in programs designed to help students succeed in the classroom and be better prepared to enter the workforce. The programs will target non-traditional and underserved students.

In January 2010, the Tennessee legislature approved an aggressive set of steps to increase the completion rates of students within the institutions of higher education in the state.

"Our state's community colleges serve as crucial pathways to prosperity for students who want to enter the job market as soon as possible," said Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey. "AT&T's commitment to good corporate citizenship in education will allow Tennessee's future workforce to reach its full potential reaping benefits for all Tennesseans."

“Success in higher education is very important for Tennessee’s long-term growth and potential,” said House Speaker Beth Harwell. “AT&T’s investment in programs like this exemplifies its commitment to furthering education in Tennessee.”

“AT&T’s commitment to education is something we need more companies throughout the state to follow,” said Sen. Dolores Gresham, chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “AT&T’s investment in programs like these with our state’s community colleges will strengthen Tennessee’s future economy and workforce.”

“The relationship between business and education is an important one for job creation in Tennessee,” said Rep. Richard Montgomery, chairman of the House Education Committee. “Statistics continue to show that the jobs of the future will require some type of secondary education, and helping our students in obtaining degrees and certificates will lead to more job growth and development for Tennessee.”

The Tennessee Board of Regents’ Office of Academic Affairs developed a curriculum for accelerated pathways for college completion. The goal is to increase completion rates at the TBR community colleges. TBR created programs of study that encourage and allow students with work and family obligations to enroll on a full-time basis, devoting 20 to 30 hours a week, including online education. Students now have the option to complete required coursework for an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees within three semesters.

Students in these new programs would benefit from scholarships that would enable them to participate fully in the four to five-hour morning, evening or weekend blocks of time required to complete an accelerated certificate or degree program. The proposed AT&T Completion Scholarship program ($10,000 to each of the 13 Tennessee Board of Regents’ community colleges) would allow the institutions to award financial support to students enrolled in these programs and increase completion and entry into the workforce in Tennessee.

The 13 Tennessee Board of Regents community colleges include:

    Chattanooga State Community College – Chattanooga, TNCleveland State Community College – Cleveland, TNColumbia State Community College – Columbia, TNDyersburg State Community College – Dyersburg, TNJackson State Community College – Jackson, TNMotlow State Community College – Lynchburg, TNNashville State Community College – Nashville, TNNortheast State Community College – Blountville, TNPellissippi State Community College – Knoxville, TNRoane State Community College – Harriman, TNSouthwest Tennessee Community College – Memphis, TNVolunteer State Community College – Gallatin, TNWalters State Community College – Morristown, TN

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 100,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.