At a time when families are going into debt to pay for school, Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee has come up with a plan to encourage high school students to graduate and then keep them in Tennessee to work and go to college. His plan also encourages adults to return to college in order to improve their lives.
A Promise For The Future
The ‘Tennessee Promise’ provides free tuition and fees to students who graduate from a Tennessee high school to attend an in-state community college or technical center. The governor’s plan, which he first presented in February and was just approved by the Tennessee Senate and House, will be paid for by allocating $300 million from the state lottery’s reserve fund.
The average cost of a two-year degree at a community college nationwide for 2013 was a bit over $10,000. Putting that money back in the pocket of a student or their family is a make or break amount for those struggling to make ends meet while dealing with long-term unemployment or with only part-time employment to pay the bills.
In order to qualify, graduating Tennessee high seniors will have to complete the following requirements:
- Fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
- Work with an assigned mentor from the program
- Attend orientation at a Tennessee community college
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress
- Perform at least one day of community service per semester
The first class to be able to take advantage of the new program will be Fall 2015 Seniors. Right now, Governor Haslam’s office is predicting over 25,000 eligible students will apply.
Increase College Graduates
This isn’t the only trick up his sleeve though. Tennessee Promise is only one part of his workforce ready program, “Drive To 55”. What Haslam is trying to do is increase the number of Tennesseans with a college degree to 55 percent by the year 2025. At this time, the state is ranked 43rd in the number of adults (32 percent) with a degree or advanced training certificate. In order to accomplish this, the state will need to add 490,000 degrees to its population. His desire is to increase their own graduates in order to keep the jobs already in Tennessee and to encourage economic growth of both businesses and the personal income of the state’s citizens. In addition to Tennessee Promise, there is also Tennessee Reconnect and Tennessee Leap.
Improving Employment Opportunities
Tennessee Reconnect is a scholarship program designed to bring adults back into the classroom to either complete their college degree or earn a training certificate in order to increase employment opportunities. In particular, Governor Haslam is hoping to push technical skills and training by changing one program and adding another
- Students will now be able to receive a Wilder-Naifeh Grant in addition to receiving a HOPE Scholarship if they qualify. Previously, if students had received this scholarship for a two-year degree, they were unable to apply in order to help finish covering their costs.
- Creation of a “Last-Dollar” Scholarship. This will assist students enrolled in a Tennessee technical college (TCAT) in paying off the last of their tuition and fees after all other financial aid options have been exhausted.
Tennessee Leap is designed to line-up educational requirements of Tennessee businesses with the curriculum being taught in Tennessee schools. This is supposed to eliminate what are called “skill gaps” so that employers will find the workers they need in state and not have to recruit elsewhere. $10 Million has been earmarked to help schools build new training programs and purchase new equipment to support LEAP.
Leading The Way
While other states have commented and made plans about providing free technical school and community college tuition, Tennessee is the only state so far to pass the legislation needed to make it a reality. To stay on top of this and other changes to funding a college education, please check in with us here at Student Debt Relief daily.
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College Ave: College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply. As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000. Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Flat Repayment Option with an 8-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.78% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 54 monthly payments of $25 while in school, followed by 96 monthly payments of $176.21 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $18,266.38. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. Information advertised valid as of 5/18/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
ELFI: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for refinancing or student loans consolidation through ELFI, you must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt and must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved post-secondary institution.
LendKey: Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
CommonBond: Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate.
Splash Financial: Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval.com
Earnest: To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest’s fixed-rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with autopay) to 7.89% APR (with autopay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with autopay) to 7.27% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms of 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 0.26% and 5.03% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 23, 2019 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay Discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/23/19. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice.
Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 303 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.