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

Michigan Avenue School Holds DARE Graduation

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson spoke at Friday’s DARE graduation at Michigan Avenue School. The sheriff met each of students who completed the 10-week program, led by DARE Instructor Deputy Mitch Roe, who said the graduates were attentive and showed great interest.   This was the second of a large number of DARE graduations scheduled over the final weeks of the school ... (click for more)

TWC And Congressman Fleischmann Present The 2015 Tennessee District 03 High School Congressional Art Competition

Tennessee Wesleyan College is hosting the 2015 Tennessee district 03 High School Congressional Art Competition. Sponsored by Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, the art competition features 32 entries by high school artists from around the district. The students entered their work for a chance to have their art displayed in the Congressman’s office in Washington, D.C. “These students ... (click for more)

Prominent Business, Civic Leader, And Philanthropist Scotty Probasco Dies At 86

Prominent Chattanooga business, civic leader and philanthropist Scotty Probasco has died at the age of 86. Scotty, as he was affectionately greeted by most of Chattanooga, was known for his modesty, generosity, dependability, and unswerving loyalty. “Great work” was always on the tip of his tongue – a manifestation of his joyous humility. He was a man of high ideals, of kind ... (click for more)

River Flood Warning Issued For Lookout Creek

There has been a river flood warning issued for Lookout Creek. Here is the warning from the National Weather Service: THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PEACHTREE CITY HAS ISSUED A FLOOD WARNING FOR THE LOOKOUT CREEK NEAR NEW ENGLAND. FROM THIS MORNING UNTIL THIS AFTERNOON. AT 11AM SUNDAY THE STAGE WAS 11.7 FEET...AND RISING. FLOOD STAGE IS 12 FEET. THE CREEK WILL ... (click for more)

Proud Of Hometown Boy Turned Global Leader, Bob Corker

Time Magazine has it right.  Not only is Chattanooga’s own U.S. Senator Bob Corker one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” but he is probably now the most prominent leader in the history of our city.   At a time of extreme frustration with Washington and Congress in general, Bob continues to rise above the division and rancor to build consensus and solve ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Great Work, Ol’ Pro!

Years ago I was lucky enough to be the seatmate of Scotty Probasco on an airplane bound for somewhere and he taught me a word that has helped me be a much better person than I ever thought I could. We were already swell friends, since he’d watched me grow up at First Presbyterian Church every Sunday with his kids, and he liked some of the stuff I tried to write back then. So ... (click for more)