The Regents Educational Assistance Program (REAP) in Perry County will be up and running full speed on July 27. The program is designed to provide displaced workers living in Perry County with one year’s free tuition at Columbia State Community College, Nashville State Community College, or the Tennessee Technology Technology Center at Hohenwald. Any Perry County resident who is unemployed and not currently enrolled at any other public or private educational institution (including high school, proprietary school, college or university) is eligible for the free tuition program. Students may take either on-ground or online courses at the three participating institutions. The new program will be coordinated by Rhonda Delk, who begins her job as REAP-Perry County Coordinator on Monday, July 27. Delk will be housed at the Perry County Career Center in Linden although she is expected to on the road recruiting, advising and assisting potential students a significant portion of the time. Delk is a Waynesboro resident but is familiar with Perry County and its residents due to her work as librarian and part-time faculty member at the Columbia State Clifton center. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Tennessee Tech University. The REAP program is funded by the Tennessee Board of Regents Office of Access and Diversity using federal stimulus funds. According to Vice Chancellor for Access and Diversity Wendy Thompson, “The grave unemployment situation in Perry County calls for dramatic intervention to assist unemployed Perry County residents gain the skills they need to get and keep good jobs. We are optimistic that this education program in conjunction with Governor Bredesen’s economic development initiatives will make a real difference in the lives of the people of Perry County. Rhonda Delk will provide career and academic counseling to students as well as assistance in maximizing their financial aid. As a ‘last dollar’ scholarship, REAP funds will be used to fill any gaps in aid so all tuition and fees are paid with no cost to the student. We think this is an outstanding access initiative and an appropriate way to use the federal economic stimulus dollars.” Students will be able to begin their studies at the community colleges in August—registration is going on now with classes beginning August 29—and at the TTC Hohenwald in September—registration is going on now and classes begin September 1. In addition to tuition and fees, book scholarships and transportation stipends are also available. Interested students should begin the application and admission process ASAP and should call the REAP Perry County office at 931-589-5012. REAP Perry County is a collaborative effort of the Tennessee Board of Regents, Columbia State Community College, Nashville State Community College, and the TTC at Hohenwald. The program was developed at the urging of Governor Bredesen’s office to help address the high levels of unemployment and low levels of post-secondary education in Perry County. The Tennessee Board of Regents is the nation’s sixth largest higher education system, governing 45 post-secondary educational institutions. The TBR system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 26 technology centers, providing programs in 90 of Tennessee’s 95 counties to over 180,000 students.
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.