A new higher education center in Cookeville will soon make it easier for students to earn job training and college degrees in the Upper Cumberland.
Tennessee Tech University, Nashville State Community College, and Volunteer State Community College are joining forces to expand higher education programs and transform the way education is offered to the region by becoming partners in a learning center.
It will also provide more opportunities for students in the region to take advantage of the Tennessee Promise, a last-dollar scholarship available to Tennessee high school graduates to cover the cost of tuition at a community or technical college or other eligible institution offering an associate degree program.
The Nashville State Cookeville campus located at 1000 Neal Street will become a Tennessee Board of Regents college & training center on July 1.
Offerings at the center will expand to include courses and programs through Vol State and TTU beginning this fall, and Tennessee College of Applied Technology programs may be added later. The Tennessee Board of Regents is the state university and community college system, governing six universities (including TTU), all 13 of the community colleges and the 27 colleges of applied technology across Tennessee.
“The demand is here for a broader range of options, and we are fortunate to have several excellent institutions eager to serve the needs of this community,” said TBR Chancellor John Morgan. “This collaborative arrangement allows us to be flexible and responsive to the citizens and employers of the region, to help students reach their post-secondary education goals, and to enhance the skilled workforce available.”
The institutions will work collaboratively at the site to provide a higher education center for learning that includes academic programs that meet the needs of the community, Morgan stressed. The center can help move students from K-12 through a two-year program, four-year degree, and on to graduate level work. The cooperative effort will allow for efficient management, shared resources and a mutually beneficial arrangement.
“The Tennessee Board of Regents is uniquely situated to facilitate this type of center for the people of our Upper Cumberland Region,” said Johnny Stites, a member of the Board of Regents and CEO of J&S Construction in Cookeville. “I’m pleased that it will help address student demand and at the same time provide support for the workforce needs of our local businesses and industries and more opportunities for local students to take advantage of the Tennessee Promise.”
The center will provide the teaching location, but students will still apply for admission to the college or university through which their program of study is offered. Each institution will offer all the necessary course work for students to complete their intended degrees at the center or within the city limits of Cookeville. Current Nashville State students will be able to complete the programs in which they are enrolled.
An advisory committee comprised of representatives from the institutions and community will provide expertise and oversight for the center. Management and operations will become the responsibility of TTU, including administrative and support staffing, facility maintenance, bookstore and food services, accounting and financial reporting, and library resources. Costs for operating the facilities will be assessed to the institutions and based on credit hours taught.
More information about the list of programs and courses offered this fall will be provided later.
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 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.