Gov. Bill Haslam’s vision to provide a tuition-free opportunity for every Tennessee student to earn a college credential is now a reality beginning with students graduating high school from the Class of 2015.
In Montgomery County, Mayor Bowers has designated tnAchieves to serve as the local partnering organization to help organize and support Tennessee Promise here. Tennessee Promise offers two years of tuition-free community or technical college to Tennessee high school graduates beginning with the Class of 2015.
“Tennessee Promise and its impact on our students, families and communities can be a real game-changer, as we prepare more of our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Mayor Bowers. “I strongly encourage all of our high school seniors and their families to talk with their guidance counselors about the Tennessee Promise, and I hope all Montgomery County residents who want to make a real, positive impact on the lives of these students and the future of our local economy to sign up as volunteer mentors. By working together, we can be a model for Tennessee and the nation.”
Per statute, Tennessee Promise students must work with a partnering organization in order to access the financial assistance. Montgomery County students will work with tnAchieves, a non-profit organization committed to increasing the number of students with a post-secondary degree within a community.
“tnAchieves is excited to partner with local leaders in Montgomery County and Gov. Haslam’s Tennessee Promise to create a more qualified workforce in the community and also provide students with a promise for a brighter future,” said Randy Boyd, tnAchieves Chairman.
Coupled with the Tennessee Promise scholarship, every student will be paired with a mentor to support the student through admission and financial aid paperwork, motivate the student to meet deadlines, and perhaps most importantly, encourage the student to reach his/her potential.
tnAchieves is currently recruiting 185 volunteer mentors in Montgomery County. Mentors spend approximately one hour monthly working with high school seniors to ensure they make a smooth transition from high school to college. tnAchieves will train all mentor applicants, provide them with a mentor handbook, and communicate with them throughout their experience with the program. To apply, visit www.tnachieves.org/mentor-application.
tnAchieves’ mission aligns with Gov. Haslam’s “Drive to 55” campaign which seeks to increase the post-secondary attainment rate to 55 percent by 2025.
Founded in 2008 as knoxAchieves, tnAchieves will operate in at least 80 counties and serve 93 percent of the state’s graduating seniors. The program has experienced substantial success utilizing volunteers from business and community-based organizations to guide its students through the college access and success processes.
In only six years, more than 12,000 students have enrolled at a post-secondary institution with tnAchieves support. Of these students, more than 65 percent were the first in their families to attend college and nearly 70 percent come from families who earn less than $50,000 annually. The program has a 90 percent FAFSA filing rate; a 71 percent fall-fall retention rate (average Tennessee community college retention rate is 59 percent); and a 33 percent three-year graduation rate (average Tennessee community college three year graduation rate is 11 percent). tnAchieves students have also given back nearly 100,000 hours of community service since 2008.
For information on tnAchieves, contact Krissy DeAlejandro, Executive Director, at 865.621.9223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.