Governor In Town To ‘Pass The Word’ About Tennessee’s Free Education Opportunity

Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - by Michael Ohagan
Governor Bill Haslam poses with nursing students at Chattanooga State.
Governor Bill Haslam poses with nursing students at Chattanooga State.
- photo by Patrick Ohagan
Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick visited Chattanooga State Community College on Wednesday to encourage students, educators and the public to spread the word about recently enacted legislation that will essentially provide two years of free college or technical education to qualifying high school graduates.

Funded by the newly established Tennessee Promise endowment and by changes to the HOPE lottery scholarship, the program provides $34 million in annual education funding.

 “We’re the first state in the country to say that if you will graduate from high school we’ll promise you two years of community college or technical school absolutely free.  No other state has done that,” said Governor Haslam.

Students must graduate from an eligible Tennessee high school or Tennessee home school program beginning in 2015.   Those who obtain GED certificates will not qualify for the program, though they will continue to have other financial assistance options.

The governor explained that tuition costs are one of the foremost barriers that prevent high school graduates from obtaining post-secondary education, and this program should solve that problem.

“Pass that word to students who are now in middle school and high school: You now have a chance to change what your future might look like,” he declared.

“Don’t let the fact that you think you can’t afford college be a barrier.”

Tennessee Promise complements the governor’s Drive to 55 goal that seeks to equip 55 percent of the Tennessee workforce with either an associate’s degree or technical education certificate within the next 10 years.  Presently, just 33 percent of the state’s workforce holds that level of education.

Rep. McCormick told the audience that he considers Tennessee Promise as one of the most significant pieces of legislation to ever pass the General Assembly.

“I’m certain that if I could be in the house for 100 years there will not be a bill that’s more important than this bill.“

Tennessee Promise funds will be paid directly to qualified institutions on behalf of eligible registered students.   The funds may be used at any of Tennessee’s 27 colleges of applied technology (TCATs), 13 community colleges, or at any in-state independent or public university offering an associate’s degree.

There are numerous requirements that students must meet to qualify and to maintain Tennessee Promise funding, including the performance of at least eight hours community service each semester.

Students must also maintain at least 12 semester hours of coursework each semester with a minimum GPA of 2.0.

Chattanooga State President Dr. Jim Catanzaro listens as Governor Bill Haslam addresses students, faculty and the public.
Chattanooga State President Dr. Jim Catanzaro listens as Governor Bill Haslam addresses students, faculty and the public.
- Photo2 by Patrick Ohagan

Student Design Wins ‘Moc My Ride’ Contest

Be on the lookout on campus or in downtown Chattanooga for bikes wrapped with a design of UTC colors with the Chattanooga skyline. UTC student Mikey Clavin’s design was chosen in the first ‘Moc My Ride’ contest, a partnership between Bike Chattanooga and UTC Athletics. The ‘Moc My Ride’ contest was an open competition inviting UTC students to create a unique bike design to be ... (click for more)

UTC Computer Science, Electrical Engineering Students Participated In Maker Faire

Dr. Craig Tanis and a group of UTC computer science and electrical engineering students took the blue and gold to Maker Faire in Chattanooga, described as “the Greatest Show (and Tell) on earth.”  Families were invited to First Tennessee Pavilion where people showed what they have made and shared what they learned. Dr. Tanis, who teaches Video Game Development in the College ... (click for more)

Erlanger Refinancing To Provide Cash For New Children's/Women's Hospital, $50 Million Erlanger East Expansion, $8.5 Million Surgical Improvements

Erlanger Health System officials said an overhaul of the hospital's debt will include $70 million in new loans for several major hospital projects - including $11.5 million toward a new $30 million Children's/Women's Hospital. The overall cost of the latter facility is $30 million, but the hospital is seeking significant outside gifts and support. It will also pay for a $50 million ... (click for more)

Legendary Radio Broadcaster Luther Dies At 92 After Record 74 Years On The Air; Funeral Will Be Thursday At 2 PM At Engel Stadium

Legendary radio broadcaster Luther Masingill died early Monday morning at Memorial Hospital surrounded by family and friends. He was 92 and had been on the air for a record 74 years. Funeral services will be held on Thursday at Historic Engel Stadium, 1130 E 3rd St., at 2 p.m. with Pastor Todd McElyea officiating.   Honorary pallbearers will be the staff at ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UT Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet!

Just moments before Florida would seal a football 10-9 victory over Tennessee in early October, the student section in Neyland Stadium stooped to a new low when it vociferously chanted, “F*** you, Florida! F*** you, Florida!” It was shocking, a loud and vulgar display of all that sportsmanship isn’t, and served as a great embarrassment to Knoxville and the university. Jimmy Cheek, ... (click for more)