Data Reports 2 Years After Entering College, Tennessee Promise Students Are Outperforming Peers

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Tennessee Promise students are outperforming their peers at community colleges in their persistence, completion rates and other success measures, according to data presented to the Tennessee Board of Regents Thursday. 

The first class of Tennessee Promise students entered college in the fall of 2015. After four semesters – through the spring 2017 semester – 56.2 percent of the first class of Promise students are either still enrolled, have earned a college credential, or transferred to a four-year university. That compares to 38.9 percent of their peers (first-time freshmen at community colleges that fall who were also recent high school graduates but did not take part in the Promise program) – a 17.3 percentage point difference. 

Tennessee Promise provides students up to five semesters of tuition-free attendance at a community college or college of applied technology. These results through four semesters indicate that the program has accelerated college enrollment, encouraged more full-time enrollment (an important indicator of student success), and accelerated award rates (degrees or other program certifications), according to Dr. Russ Deaton, TBR executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success. 

He presented the data to the Board of Regents during its quarterly meeting in Memphis. The board governs the College System of Tennessee, the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology. The analysis of the first TN Promise cohort covers the students’ performance through their first four semesters. More complete data for the first Promise class will be available in January after the students complete their fifth and final semester of eligibility this fall. 

“These numbers are the first evidence that Tennessee Promise is doing exactly what Governor Haslam and the General Assembly designed – getting more students into college, including students who might not otherwise be able attend, and helping them succeed once they get here,” said TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings. “It’s a visionary program that other states are beginning to emulate. We look forward to the fifth semester results on the first class of TN Promise students in January.” 

Proposed by Governor Bill Haslam and approved by the state legislature, Tennessee Promise is the nation’s first statewide program for tuition-free community and technical college. The program provides mentoring assistance to help guide high school students through the college application and enrollment process and a “last-dollar” scholarship covering the costs of tuition and mandatory fees not covered by federal Pell Grants and state aid programs such as the Hope Scholarship and Tennessee Student Assistance Awards. 

To qualify, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, enroll in college the fall semester immediately following their high school graduation, perform eight hours of community service, remain enrolled as full-time students (at least 12 credit hours per semester) and maintain satisfactory academic progress in college (a minimum 2.0 grade-point average). The students also receive guidance from mentors as they navigate the FAFSA, college application, and enrollment process. 

A total of 13,287 Promise students enrolled in the state’s 13 community colleges in the fall of 2015, 73.5 percent of recent high school graduates who entered as first-time freshmen in the colleges that fall. Of the Promise students, 59.9 percent were still in college a year later, in fall 2016, compared to only 41.3 percent of non-Promise recent high school graduates. 

After four semesters, 39 percent of the original Promise students were still enrolled in community college, 14.5 percent had earned a degree or certificate and 2.7 percent had transferred to a university – for a 56.2 percent “success rate,” Dr. Deaton said. Among their non-Promise peers, 30.5 percent were still enrolled, 5.3 percent had earned a degree or certificate, and 3.1 percent had transferred – a total of 38.9 percent. After four semesters, Tennessee Promise students are outperforming their peers at community college by 17.3 percentage points. 

The preliminary data also indicates that of the students who entered in the fall of 2015 and were still enrolled in spring 2017, 16 percent of the Promise students had earned 60 or more hours of college credit – the standard for earning an Associate degree -- and 42 percent had earned 48 to 59 hours, putting them within striking distance of a degree, Dr. Deaton said.


Sigma Chi Contributes To East Ridge Needy Child Fund

Lee Hosts Shakespeare Political Science And Philosophy Symposium

Lee Students Invited To Immigration Forum


UTC undergraduate Sigma Chis and their Chattanooga alumni counterparts braved the inclement weather Saturday evening to collect toys and clothing items for the East Ridge Needy Child Fund. ... (click for more)

Lee University’s Department of History, Political Science & Humanities recently held its third annual Undergraduate Intercollegiate Political Science and Philosophy Symposium. A two-day event, ... (click for more)

Mareline Alfaro and Ana Rocha Delgado, two Lee University students, attended the Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C. Along with Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English Dr. Carolyn Dirksen, ... (click for more)


Student Scene

Sigma Chi Contributes To East Ridge Needy Child Fund

UTC undergraduate Sigma Chis and their Chattanooga alumni counterparts braved the inclement weather Saturday evening to collect toys and clothing items for the East Ridge Needy Child Fund. In their cooperative effort, members of the UTC Greek sorority community joined hands to contribute to the Christmas drive as well. Debbie Ray Colburn praised the group on behalf of the ... (click for more)

Lee Hosts Shakespeare Political Science And Philosophy Symposium

Lee University’s Department of History, Political Science & Humanities recently held its third annual Undergraduate Intercollegiate Political Science and Philosophy Symposium. A two-day event, the symposium was held in the Helen DeVos College of Education and focused on the political thought of Shakespeare. After registration and coffee on Friday afternoon, students broke ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Planning Commission Recommends M-1 Zoning For Tubman Site Despite Some Community Opposition

The Planning Commission on Monday afternoon unanimously recommended M-1 zoning for most of the 44-acre Harriet Tubman site in East Chattanooga. A section by Roanoke Avenue would be left R-3, allowing single-family homes, apartments and townhomes. The vote came despite some community opposition along with the Unity Group, that favored a mixed-use approach and input from residents. ... (click for more)

Bounmy Manhrasamy, 37, Arrested For Shooting And Killing His Uncle, Somvang Vorachak

Bounmy Manhrasamy, 37, has been arrested for the shooting death of his uncle, Somvang Vorachak, 60, on Sunday. The Catoosa County 911 Center received a call on Sunday at 9:14 a.m. of an individual who had been shot at 218 Steele Road, Rossville. The caller advised the shooter was still inside the residence. Upon deputies ' arrival, the shooter, Bounmy Manhrasamy exited ... (click for more)

Opinion

TVA Land Grab

The Georgetown land grab is just ‘Business as Usual’ for TVA. For the past 80 years they’ve shown their stripes in this matter - 170,000 acres seized at LBL, countless acreage taken in the Tennessee River Valley. Land taken for coal and nuclear sites. All by the same play book. All from average people. We want this, you have this, we get this. I worked with TVA as a ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Greatest 4 Minutes

I would venture to say I know more sports trivia than the next guy. I’ve spent a fun lifetime watching and listening and learning so why is it, on the early eve of my three-score-and-ten, I never knew about “the best four minutes in sports” until just now? Oh, for decades I’ve know the annual Army-Navy football game, the latest just played this weekend, was special. A half-century ... (click for more)