Pellissippi State increases adult enrollment, sets new records

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L. Anthony Wise Jr.

“Finding out about the free tuition program at Pellissippi State — a year before everyone else had it — was the reason I came back to college,” said Lara Mechling, a newly enrolled adult student at Pellissippi State Community College. “I started college after high school, but the timing wasn’t right. Because of Reconnect Now, I can begin again.”

Mechling, a 29-year-old recent mother, and around 2,500 fellow adult students qualified for Pellissippi State’s Reconnect Now scholarship initiative this semester. Reconnect Now is a last-dollar scholarship, funded by the college, for qualified adults. It allows adult students to attend the college tuition-free.

Of the approximately 2,567 students who qualified for Reconnect Now funding, 1,598 students have received funding so far. Of those, 1,100 students are new to the college and 498 are students who were previously enrolled. In short, nearly 23 percent of Pellissippi State’s current student population are new adults who qualified for Reconnect Now, and students who received Reconnect Now funding make up nearly one-seventh of the college’s total enrollment.

Total enrollment of adult students is 3,464 this year, reflecting the highest adult enrollment at the college since 2013 and a reversal of a seven-year downward trend in adult enrollment.

This increase in adult students contributed greatly to Pellissippi State’s overall jump in enrollment. The official headcount enrollment for fall is 11,168 students — an increase of nine percent over last year and the highest headcount since 2011. The college remains the largest community college in the state.

Pellissippi State did realize a number of enrollment firsts this semester. The college saw its highest-ever population of first-time freshmen — those who have never before attended college. Online student enrollment was up nearly 45 percent, making Pellissippi State’s online “campus” second in popularity only to the college’s Hardin Valley Campus.

“We’re excited to welcome the largest freshman class in the history of the college,” said President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “We are committed to providing the support necessary to give each and every one of our students the best possible chance of success at Pellissippi State and beyond.”

Other record highs were seen among Dual Enrollment students, who can earn college credits while still in high school, and for enrollment at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State has record enrollment in fall 2017

Students in Courtyard

Pellissippi State Community College will see record enrollment this fall.

When classes begin August 28, approximately 11,571 students will walk onto Pellissippi State’s five campuses — which reflects an increase in enrollment of about 10.4 percent over the same day last year.

This fall, the college launched Reconnect Now, a last-dollar scholarship for qualified adult students that covers tuition and mandatory fees. About 2,706 students are eligible for Reconnect Now funding.

The college’s previous record high enrollment was 11,260 in 2011. Pellissippi State has been the largest community college in Tennessee since 2015.

“Our pilot of Reconnect Now has proven that adults in Tennessee have waited for an opportunity like this,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Pellissippi State is proud to open the doors of education to everyone.”

Headcount enrollment is up at all five of Pellissippi State’s campuses in Knox and Blount counties, and is up almost 50 percent online.

“Covering the cost of tuition and fees does not meet all of the needs of adults with jobs, families and lives outside of school,” Wise said. “We have expanded the classes and programs we offer online, in the evenings and on weekends to fit adults’ schedules, and we’re pairing adult learners with support services like free child care for qualified single parents, credit for prior learning and even an academic fresh start if they’ve tried college before unsuccessfully.”

Pellissippi State’s Reconnect Now program will last through summer 2018. Next fall, qualified Reconnect Now students at Pellissippi State will transfer into the state’s Tennessee Reconnect scholarship program.

The official enrollment numbers for the semester will be determined and released on September 11.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State student earns CyberCorps scholarship for service

Joshua Wilson
Joshua Wilson

Joshua Wilson, a Pellissippi State Community College student, has earned a CyberCorps Scholarship for Service award to attend Tennessee Technological University.

 “I returned to college as a non-traditional student,” Wilson said. “After eight years as a Marine and traveling to 28 countries, I took advantage of the GI Bill and wanted to pursue something I enjoyed. I’ve always loved computers and technology, so that’s what I chose.”

Wilson has been in school full-time since 2014, and will graduate this May with two degrees: an associate degree in Computer Science and an associate of applied science degree in Computer Information Technology with a concentration in Networking. He then plans to transfer to Tennessee Tech.

“I’ve really enjoyed it here at Pellissippi State. I like all my professors — you can tell that they care about what they’re doing and want to help you. With the small classes, you get to know your professors and can learn at a manageable pace,” Wilson said. “And for me, the Veterans Club has helped me find a place to fit in. We’re really close.”

The CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program is administered through the federal Office of Personnel Management. Its intent is to increase and strengthen the cadre of federal information assurance professionals that protect the government’s critical information infrastructure. CyberCorps provides scholarships and stipends that typically cover the full cost of tuition and fees. The scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation.

The scholarship not only will pay for Wilson’s final year at Pellissippi State and his bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, but also will pay him a stipend to allow him to focus solely on school. For three years after graduation, he will work for the federal government in a cybersecurity post.

“Cybersecurity is becoming a more and more important issue, and there simply aren’t enough people in the field,” Wilson said.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

AT&T donates $5,000 to Pellissippi State for student scholarships

ATT Check Presentation
Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise, left, and Pellissippi State Foundation Executive Director Peggy Wilson, right, accept a check from AT&T, along with, from left, Pellissippi State scholarship recipient Kyle Beanblossom, AT&T regional director of external affairs Alan Hill, and State Rep. Roger Kane.

 

AT&T has donated $5,000 to Pellissippi State Community College to support non-traditional, underserved students studying in accelerated cohort programs. The donation will fund student scholarships.

“This type of support from private business is important as we work to find ways to advance higher education in East Tennessee,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., president of Pellissippi State. “The scholarship this contribution will fund will allow students to complete degree programs that give them the skills to complete in today’s technology-based economy.”

This donation is part of AT&T’s $65,000 gift to the Tennessee Board of Regents, Pellissippi State’s governing body. Each of the state’s 13 community colleges will receive $5,000 toward student scholarships that target non-traditional and underserved students.

“To meet the needs of our ever-growing economy, Tennessee’s institutions of higher education must ensure new entrants to the workforce are prepared and obtain the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed in a modern workplace,” said Sen. Richard Briggs. “Through programs like those offered at Pellissippi State, pathways are created for non-traditional students to gain these skills, benefiting all Tennesseans.” 

“Tennessee’s community colleges serve as crucial pathways to prosperity for students who want to enter the job market as soon as possible,” said Rep. Roger Kane.  “AT&T’s commitment to good corporate citizenship in education will allow our future workforce to reach its full potential reaping benefits for all Tennesseans.”

“The relationship between business and education is an important one for job creation in Tennessee,” said Rep. Harry Brooks, chairman of the House Education Committee. “Statistics continue to show that the jobs of the future will require some type of secondary education, and helping our students obtain degrees and certificates will lead to more job growth and development for Tennessee.”

In January 2010, the Tennessee legislature passed the Complete College Tennessee Act, which seeks to increase the higher education completion rates of students across the state.

 “We are delighted to support Tennessee students who are acquiring the skills they need to enter the workforce,” said Alan Hill, regional director of External and Legislative Affairs, AT&T Tennessee. “Accelerated certificate and degree programs are a great way to ensure our students are fully prepared to enter the workforce and that they can find good jobs right here in Tennessee when they graduate.”

The AT&T scholarships will support students studying programs that are accelerated cohorts, which can allow students to complete their associate degrees at an accelerated rate. Accelerated cohorts especially help students who are attending college while also working full-time.

For more information about AT&T and its Philanthropy & Social Innovation outreach, visit http://about.att.com. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

 

Download this press release: ATT Scholarship Donation

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