Interest rising for Tennessee Reconnect program

Published 8:25 pm Friday, July 21, 2017

In present-day Tennessee, the percentage of adults with a postsecondary degree or credential is sitting at 39 percent. Based on the number of future jobs that will require a postsecondary degree, Governor Bill Haslam has set a goal to increase that number to at least 55 percent.
In order to better financially assist adults in attending college, Haslam has approved a grant to support the Tennessee Reconnect Act.
According to the quarterly newsletter provided by the Northeast Tennessee Reconnect Community, the vision of the Act is: “Every adult Tennessean accesses high-quality advising, guiding them through open doors to post-secondary education once perceived as closed, ensuring long-term success for families, communities, and the entire state.”
According to McKenzie Todd, Program Coordinator for the Northeast Tennessee Reconnect Community, the grant approval has sparked the interest of many adults wishing to go back to college.
“From October 2016 to present, we have recruited and assisted 731 adults to and on their way through college,” Todd said.
Haslam’s grant is a “last-dollar” scholarship, meaning that after all other financial aid has been applied to a student’s tuition and fees balance, the grant will cover what is remaining.
Beginning in Fall 2018, qualifying adults will be able to attend a Tennessee community college tuition-free. Adults around the region are showing interest in the program.
“I believe our numbers reflect the level of interest locally,” Todd said. “In fact, we are signing up 10 to 15 new Reconnectors each week. Additionally, when we attend meetings and events in our six county region (Carter, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington), we hear and see an outpouring of support and interest from local organizations, business and government.”
To learn more about the Tennessee Reconnect Act and the Northeast Tennessee Reconnect Community, visit or call 423-547-7515.

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