Tennessee is the first state in the nation to offer two years of free tuition at all state community colleges and technical schools through the Tennessee Promise program. Statistics show the scholarship has increased the college going rate and wages after graduation in the state.
“The transition from high school to college can be daunting. TNPromise eliminates the stress and angst of paying for tuition and is one reason we find higher college going rates with LEAD students,” said Christine Harris, the Director of College Counseling for LEAD for the Class of 2021.
The Tennessee Promise serves as a last dollar scholarship program. That means it provides every graduating senior in Tennessee the promise that their tuition will be covered for up to two years after all federal and state aid is applied. The requirements for students to qualify are: complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA, attend meetings, meet with volunteer mentors, and complete eight community service hours each semester. Once in school, students must maintain a grade point average of 2.0.
Currently, 26 LEAD Academy graduates are planning to attend Nashville State Community College in the fall. Additionally, LEAD grads are also using the scholarship to attend Vol State Community College,Columbia State Community College, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, and Motlow State Community College.
“TNPromise provides a community for our students who are already used to a small, family oriented setting,” Harris said. “The communication, meetings and requirements provide a structure and basic outline of expectations which help our students feel accountable to earning their degree.”
Siyajali Emeline, LEAD Academy Class of 2020, is thriving at Nashville State Community College. She encourages all LEAD students to consider community college as a great option for continuing your education after high school.
“Nashville State is preparing me for life and pushing me to expand my horizons. Attending Nashville State has taught me that having a firm foundation sets a steady path to a better future,” Emeline said.
To learn more about the Tennessee Promise and it’s administrator, non-profit tnAchieves, visit their websites and talk to your school’s college counselor: https://www.tn.gov/tnpromise.html and tnachieves.org.