A new study conducted by the University of Tennessee shows the Tennessee Promise program has improved enrollment and degree completion at Pellissippi State Community College and Cumberland University.
At Pellissippi State, enrollment of first-time, full-time freshmen increased 25 percent the first semester of Tennessee Promise and 40 percent by the fall of 2018, when the fourth group of Tennessee Promise freshmen entered the program.
The college has also seen an increase in minority student enrollment. African-American students have increased from 5 percent in fall 2015 to 6.4 percent in fall 2018 and Hispanic student enrollment grew from 4.4 percent to 5.9 percent during the same period.
The study also found that students in Tennessee Promise take more credit hours in their first semester and are more likely to attain a certificate or degree than other students.
At Cumberland University in Lebanon, 1,067 students have benefitted from Tennessee Promise. A total of 68 students were enrolled in Tennessee Promise in its first semester, growing to 414 by fall of 2018.
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The Tennessee Promise last-dollar scholarship and mentoring program were launched in fall 2015. High school graduates can get five consecutive semesters of free tuition at the states 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and other institutions.
The studies were conducted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Postsecondary Education Research Center. The center is part of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.