More high school seniors apply for Tennessee Promise

JACKSON, Tenn. — More high school seniors hope to cash in on free education. Gov. Bill Haslam said the number of Tennessee Promise applicants is up this year. “I wanted to make sure that I went into as little debt as possible,” Blake Monroe, a student, said. Monroe attends Jackson State Community College tuition-free thanks to Tennessee Promise, a statewide program that offers eligible seniors free tuition to a two-year community or technical college. “It has definitely taken away the stress and the worries about having to pay for college,” Monroe said. More students hope to take advantage of the program. Haslam said by midnight on Monday, 59,635 students submitted Tennessee Promise applications. In 2014, more than 58,000 students applied. “We’re looking forward to more applicants,” Jackson State Community College Director of High School Initiatives and Student Recruitment Andrea Winchester said. “We’re looking forward to being able to provide those opportunities.” Winchester said they had about 200 more freshmen enroll this year and expect to see an increase in enrollment again next year. Winchester said more than 2,500 of this year‘s Tennessee Promise applicants listed Jackson State as their institution of choice. “Tennessee Promise has given some attention to the community colleges that we welcome,” she said. Monroe said students now do not have an excuse to skip out on college. “There’s no need in spending thousands and thousands of dollars for the same classes that we can take here,” he said. According to the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation, 15,830 students from the graduating high school class of 2015 are using Tennessee Promise benefits this fall. Haslam encouraged adults to sign up to mentor Tennessee Promise students before the Nov. 20 deadline.

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