Jackson State Community College sees jump in Tennessee Promise applications

JACKSON, Tenn. — A record number of high school students applied for the Tennessee Promise program this year, according to Gov. Bill Haslam.

tnpromise“Everybody wants free stuff, whether it be a piece of candy or free college,” Will Harris, a freshman at Jackson State Community College, said.

Nearly 61,000 high school seniors applied for Tennessee Promise this year, up from 58,286 applicants in 2014 and 59,621 applicants in 2015, according to the state.

Harris attends Jackson State tuition free thanks to the program. “It’s just easy now,” he said. “I mean I don’t have to worry about going into debt and all that.”

Jackson State Director of Admissions and Records Robin Marek said early reports indicate their Tennessee Promise applications nearly doubled from last year. “I’m really wondering if a lot of the high schools are pushing the students as making sure they go ahead and sign up for their backup plan,” Marek said.

The governor’s office said it hopes to have 9,000 mentors for these Tennessee Promise students by its Nov. 20 deadline, but the state said it currently only has about 4,500 committed.

“The time commitment is very small, but the impact can be really big,” Haslam said.

Haslam released a video this week calling on adults to become mentors. “It can be people from the Chamber of Commerce or the school systems, the colleges, anybody who has experience or has been through college,” Marek said.

Harris said two years of free tuition is a big relief and that he is not surprised others want to take advantage of it. “I’m very grateful for just the opportunity to have it,” he said.

To be a mentor, you must apply by Nov. 20. To learn more about becoming a mentor including how to apply, visit the Tennessee Promise website.

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