The facts about Tennessee Promise

Gov. Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Promise will bring significant changes to the state’s higher education landscape, so we’re taking this opportunity to address several common questions and misconceptions about the new initiative, specifically as it impacts Pellissippi State.

Tennessee Promise is part of the state’s Drive to 55 campaign, which aims to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certifications to 55 percent by the year 2025. Through Tennessee Promise, graduating high school seniors will be eligible to earn an associate’s degree or certificate free of tuition and fees.

For complete details on Tennessee Promise, visit www.driveto55.org/initiatives.

  • Who is eligible for Tennessee Promise? Any high school senior who graduates from an eligible Tennessee high school or home school program and anyone who completes a GED or HiSET diploma before 19 years of age can apply for funds. The program will launch with the high school graduating class of 2015. Tennessee Promise students who graduate from high school in spring 2015 must begin college in fall 2015 to receive funding.
  • What will students be required to do? To get Tennessee Promise funding, students must take the following steps in their senior year of high school:
      1. Apply for the Tennessee Promise program by November 1.
      2. Attend mandatory meetings related to completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and applying to college.
      3. Complete the FAFSA by February 15.
      4. Attend New Student Orientation.
      5. Maintain continuous enrollment as a full-time student (12 credit hours), maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete at least eight hours of community service each term.
  • What does Tennessee Promise fund? Tennessee Promise is a last-dollar scholarship—that is, it will cover tuition and fees after other assistance (except for loans and work-study) has been applied. It won’t cover books or the cost of attendance fees, such as travel and gas expenses.
  • How will funds be administered? Tennessee Promise funds will be administered by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation through higher education institutions. Students will never receive funding directly.

About 25,000 high school seniors are expected to apply to higher education institutions in fall 2015 through Tennessee Promise. The initiative is estimated to cost about $34 million per year, and the funds will come from existing sources, including modifications to the HOPE Scholarship.