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Upper Cumberland Counselors Say Tennessee Promise Popularity Growing

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Upper Cumberland Counselors Say Tennessee Promise Popularity Growing

Upper Cumberland counselors agree that the Tennessee Promise scholarship is growing in popularity.

More than 66,000 high school seniors applied for Tennessee Promise by the November 1 deadline. The state reports that marks a nearly four percent increase over last year. White County High School Senior Advisor Suzanne Rushing said the focus on funding career post-graduation education is working.

“There’s not one program that will take over two years, so I think they see that as a win-win,” Rushing said. “They can go in, they can get their credentials in a short amount of time with a low cost and then turn around and go straight into the work force, and make a good salary that can support themselves and their family.”

Livingston Academy College Career Coordinator Teresa Johnson said the program also provides an opportunity to students to go to college who otherwise would not qualify for financial aid.

“It’s the free tuition,” Johnson said. “I mean, once this scholarship become available the parents that didn’t meet the qualification for Federal Student Aid because of income guidelines, this was an opportunity for those students to get free tuition at a community college or TCAT school.”

Tennessee Promise is a scholarship that allows all senior graduate to go to school if they meet certain requirements. Those include eight hours of community service or job shadowing, attending a mandatory meeting and maintaining a 2.0 GPA through high school.

Johnson said 100 percent of Livingston Academy seniors have started the application process. Rushing said she encourages all senior students to apply even those with no interest in TCAT or community college as a back-up plan.

“Life happens and sometimes they need a plan B,” Rushing said. “To say I thought I was going to do this, but actually I have this funding in place through this scholarship and it’s a viable option.”

Rushing said part of the scholarships popularity comes down to awareness.

“I think that part of my job is just education because just like anything else students get confused as to what is what, so for me in my role is to just help seniors and families navigate all the terminology, all the scholarships, all the applications,” Rushing said. “I think it’s gaining popularity as students understand what it is and how it can help them.”

Rushing said without this scholarship many students would not even consider post-secondary education.

“I believe this scholarship is advantageous to the student that is finishing high school,” Rushing said. “It gives them an option. Without the Tennessee Promise Scholarship, they would not have that option. I think a lot of students would chose to not go the college route just because of the affordability.”

Johnson said the Tennessee workforce would suffer if Tennessee Promise were to go away.

“I think we’d have a weaker workforce,” Johnson said. “This has also happened to increase the skills that’s needed for the workforce in Tennessee because of the free tuition. I think its just making Tennessee stronger by having those educational opportunities for students.”

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission announced this week the highest number of applicants since the inception of the Tennessee program in 2015.


The post Upper Cumberland Counselors Say Tennessee Promise Popularity Growing appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.