The Tennessee Promise allows high school students to earn an associate degree at the state’s 13 community colleges, providing they are full-time students, maintain a 2.0 grade-point average, meet regularly with a mentor in their field of study, and complete at least eight hours of community service.
The Promise helped community college enrollment jump 14% this fall, the first year the program was offered statewide. Tennessee’s four-year institutions had to compete with the free-tuition program, but enrollment figures still appear healthy.
“We beefed up our efforts,” Glenda Glover, president of Tennessee State University, Nashville, said in a report for Nashville Public Radio. “All of us have done extra work, but it looks like we overdid it because TSU enrollment is up this year.”
Enrollment figures across the six Tennessee Board of Regents schools were flat, which was actually an improvement over the trend of the last five years. Enrollment for the University of Tennessee system slipped at UT Martin and Chattanooga, but UT Knoxville reported one of its largest freshman classes ever.