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Thousands sign up for Tennessee Reconnnect

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Wednesday that more than 10,000 adults have applied for Tennessee Reconnect, the state’s program for adult learners to earn an associate degree or technical certificate tuition-free.

The application for Tennessee Reconnect opened on February 15 and 10,497 applications had been submitted as of April 10. Tennessee Reconnect covers tuition and mandatory fees at a Tennessee community or technical college for eligible adults that do not yet have a college degree.

“The immense interest in Tennessee Reconnect demonstrates that Tennesseans understand the value of a postsecondary credential and that a quality education can help create better lives for them and their families,” Haslam said. “Tennessee is leading the nation in making college accessible and affordable to anyone who wants to earn a degree. By investing in our workforce through education, we are creating a solid foundation for our state’s economic future.”

Among those who have applied for the scholarship, more than two-thirds have previously enrolled in college and just more than half of all applicants have attended college in the past five years. The average age of applicants is 34 years old and nearly 90 percent of those who applied plan to work while enrolled through Reconnect.

Tennessee Reconnect was proposed by Haslam and passed by the General Assembly in 2017. The application launched in February in conjunction with a statewide outreach campaign. The campaign included statewide television, radio, online and social media advertisements, as well as coordinated outreach from Tennessee’s community and technical colleges.

The Tennessee Reconnect application will remain open year-round; adults hoping to enroll in community or technical college in fall 2018 are encouraged to apply by April 15 to ensure time to complete all enrollment steps. The application for Reconnect requires four simple steps:

  1. Complete the application at TNReconnect.gov;
  2. Apply to a local community college or eligible Tennessee Reconnect institution;
  3. File the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at FAFSA.ed.gov; and
  4. Enroll in a degree or certificate program at least part-time.

Tennessee Reconnect is part of the Drive to 55, the governor’s initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. Tennessee is the first state in the nation to offer all citizens – both high school graduates and adults – the chance to earn a postsecondary degree or certificate tuition-free.