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

Wednesday, June 4, 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

Lee Hosts Music Theory Educators Conference

More than 130 educators from across North America gathered at Lee University for “Pedagogy into Practice: Teaching Music Theory in the Twenty-First Century,” a conference hosted by Lee’s Department of Musicianship Studies.  The mission of the conference was to help teachers of music theory and aural skills share ideas and become more effective in their professions. College ... (click for more)

Whirlpool Foundation Announces 2017 Sons And Daughters Scholarship Winners From Cleveland

Every year, Whirlpool Foundation presents a series of scholarships and awards to the children of Whirlpool Corporation employees at their Benton Harbor, Mi. headquarters, as well as other locations across the nation - including Cleveland, Tn. Awards, which are chosen by a panel of judges, comprised of community leaders who represent the business, education, and nonprofit sectors, ... (click for more)

Public Markets To Manage And Operate Finley Stadium

The Stadium Corporation board of directors, at a special board meeting Thursday, gave approval for Public Markets, Inc., (PMI) the entity that oversees the Chattanooga Market, the River Market, the Collegedale Market and Cambridge Square Market, to handle the management, operations and administration of the stadium. Executive Director of PMI Chris Thomas and his staff stepped ... (click for more)

Man Charged In North Chattanooga Murder Says "Wrong Number" Led To Drug Deal That Went Bad

A man charged in a North Chattanooga murder said a "wrong number" led to his chance meeting with victim Charles "Chas" Holsey and a drug deal that led to the March 2, 2015, slaying. Briston "B.J." Smith Jr. told investigators he thought he was dialing a friend named "Clack" who he said sells marijuana. By getting one digit wrong, he wound up texting with Holsey, who by chance ... (click for more)

Tom Edd Wilson Was A Great Visionary

We want to add to the many heart-felt messages that have been expressed regarding the recent passing of Tom Edd Wilson, a truly great visionary.    While he made his mark on many local organizations, Tom Edd will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who worked closely with him at Erlanger.   We benefited greatly from his steady guidance, leadership ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Luther’s B-17 Showed Up

I am a huge sap for our veterans and just the other days a reader shared the ultimate story about a guy who returned to his sweetheart at the end of World War II. The little town of Miller. Missouri, is located in the southwest corner of the state and the biggest thing to ever happen in Lawrence County is when a native son, James Lawrence, hollered “Don’t Give Up The Ship” in the ... (click for more)