With the new statewide program Tennessee Promise, all Tennessee high school graduates have the opportunity to attend a community college or Tennessee College of Applied Technology free of tuition and fees, and they will be provided a mentor to ensure their success.
“Cleveland State is partnering with Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Athens to raise awareness in our service area about Tennessee Promise, how it works and when to apply,” stated Dr. Bill Seymour, CSCC president.
“We want all rising high school seniors and their families to know the facts, so they can take advantage of this great opportunity.”
The Tennessee Promise is patterned after tnAchieves, founded in Knox County in 2008 and now serving schools in 27 counties. The Tennessee Promise is an opportunity for all graduating high school seniors — regardless of socioeconomic status or academic performance — to obtain a credential from a TCAT or a community college free of tuition and fees by meeting the following requirements:
1) Completing an application for Tennessee Promise prior to the stated deadline of Nov. 1. Tennessee Promise will provide students with a last dollar scholarship, which means it will bridge the funding gap for a student after all other financial aid is applied;
2) Working with an assigned mentor;
3) Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the end of January;
4) Attending mandatory meetings including college orientation;
5) Applying to college prior to the stated deadline, completing registration and enrolling as a full-time student;
6) Maintaining satisfactory academic progress; and
7) Performing eight hours of community service each semester.
Seymour added, “The most important thing for rising high school seniors to know is you cannot wait until next year to get started. To take advantage of Tennessee Promise you must submit your application before Nov. 1, 2014.”
Graham Thomas, director of Community Partnerships, tnAchieves, said, “tnAchieves is partnering with Gov. Haslam’s Tennessee Promise to provide a last-dollar, post-secondary scholarship to any student across the state that wishes to attend college.”
“This means tuition cost should no longer be an obstacle when a student is deciding to attend a community or technical college. While all public high school students are eligible for tnAchieves, the program is also open to private and home-schooled students.”
Thomas went on to state, “Raising awareness of financial aid options and ultimately eliminating the funding barrier are obviously important; however, it is the mentoring component that sets tnAchieves apart from other programs. Each student is assigned a volunteer mentor who supports the student through admission and financial aid paperwork, motivates the student to meet deadlines, and perhaps most importantly, encourages the student to reach his/her potential.”
According to Thomas, Tennessee Promise will need 5,000 volunteers across the state to work with the class of 2015.
Current volunteers advise they spend only one hour per month assisting students, meaning even the person with the busiest schedule can give back and make a difference.
To sign up to become a mentor, visit www.tnachieves.org/mentor-application or contact Thomas at 615-604-1306 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Tennessee Promise, contact Cleveland State’s Enrollment Services Center at 423-472-7141, ext. 310.