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Tennessee Offers Free Community College to All Adults

Free Community College Tennessee

Free Community College for All Adults in Tennessee

The Tennessee Promise Scholarship was established in 2014. It was created to help Tennessee’s high school seniors get a college degree by covering two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in the state of Tennessee. The legislation to expand this specific program to all Tennessee adults in need of an associate’s or technical degree was just approved. This makes Tennessee community college free for all adults.

This bill to expand the existing program has not yet been signed into law, but it is expected that Governor Bill Haslam will do so soon. (Governor Haslam signed the original Tennessee Promise Scholarship into law back in the summer of 2014.)

“If we want to have jobs ready for Tennesseans, we have to make sure that Tennesseans are ready for jobs, and there is no smarter investment than increasing access to high-quality education,” Haslam said in a statement.

Students may use the Tennessee Promise Scholarship at any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or other eligible institution offering an associate degree program.

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Scholarship + Mentoring

The scholarship program is two-fold. While removing the financial burden is key, a critical component of the Tennessee Promise is the individual guidance each participant will receive from a mentor who will assist the student as he or she navigates the college admission process.

This is accomplished primarily via mandatory mentoring meetings that students must attend in order to remain eligible for the program. In addition, Tennessee Promise participants must complete and submit eight hours of community service per term enrolled, as well as maintain satisfactory academic progress (2.0 GPA) at their respective institution.