Skip to Content

Tech Joins Universities Across State To Promote Value Of Four-Year Degree

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tech Joins Universities Across State To Promote Value Of Four-Year Degree

Tennessee Tech has joined forces with nine universities across the state to promote the value of a four-year degree.

The “Four the Future” campaign will use television ads, billboards, digital media and community meetings to encourage residents to pursue a four-year degree. Vice President for Enrollment and Communication Karen Lykins said the narrative around four-year degrees has changed over the years. She said it was time for universities to balance that narrative.

“We need to do a campaign that explains how valuable a four-year degree is,” Lykins said. “There’s lots of other options, and we know it is not for everyone, but it’s such a game changer for so many people, and we just wanted to show people we were unified no matter how competitive we are with each other.”

The state reported the rate of high school students going to college fell from 63.8 percent in 2017 to 52.8 percent by 2021. Since COVID, the number has stayed around 54 percent.

“I think COVID changed everything, but one of the things it did in terms of four-year degrees is it made people stop and evaluate, right?” Lykins said. “A four-year degree is an investment of your time and money, and I think there was a big pause and people started looking at alternatives. ‘Can I go to school part time?’ or the perception is a four-year degree is going to cost too much. It was really a time of stopping and considering other options.”

Lykins said the recent focus in high schools on two-year programs through Tennessee Promise has also caused many students to look past four-year degrees.

“There’s been a great emphasis on the advantages of a two-year degree or a trade school, and the immediacy of getting into the workforce,” Lykins said. “They’ve done a great job tying in what you can do as a career immediately with some of those, and again all of those are very positive things for the state of Tennessee. So, yes that has taken the spotlight that type of communications. So we just wanted to make sure that you know that people with four-year degrees have some additional advantages and that includes choices later on in life, how far you can progress.”

Lykins said she was not surprised by the drop in college students over the last few years.

“We’ve lost in these last three or four years the advantages of a four-year degree,” Lykins said. “That’s not in the conversation anymore. We wanted to put that back into the conversation. I think it’s time. Is it concerning? I think it’s expected, but it also signals it is a time to really make sure we’re communicating the value of a four-year degree.”

Tech joins Austin Peay, East Tennessee State, Middle Tennessee State, UT-Knoxville, UT-Chattanooga, UT-Martin, UT-Southern and UT-Health Science Center in the campaign.


The post Tech Joins Universities Across State To Promote Value Of Four-Year Degree appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.