Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam last week encouraged high school seniors to apply for the Tennessee Promise, Tennessee’s groundbreaking scholarship and mentorship program that provides high school graduates last-dollar scholarship to attend two years of community or technical college free of tuition and fees.

The deadlines for applications is Nov 2.

According to the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), 15,830 students from graduation high school class of 2015 are utilizing Tennessee Promise benefits this fall, which is the first year of implementation. Community colleges across the state also report substantial growth, with the number of students enrolling full time in community college directly after high school increasing by 14 percent since last fall.

“My message to high school seniors is this is your Tennessee Promise. This is an opportunity for you to fulfill your potential, and you have an opportunity to change the future for yourself and for our state,” Haslam said.

Proposed by Haslam and passed by General Assembly in 2014, Tennessee Promise is a key component of Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary credential to 55 percent by the year 2025.

As a result of Tennessee Promise, Tennessee leads the nation in Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion, comprising 40 percent of the entire country’s growth in FAFSA filings in 2015. After completing the application by Nov 2, students are required to file a FAFSA, attend two mandatory meetings and complete eight hours of community service. Haslam also encouraged adults to sign up to be mentors for Tennessee Promise students.

“We know that access to college is important, but even more important is success. Not only do we need to get those students into school, they need to finish. That’s why the mentor piece of the Tennessee Promise is so important,” Haslam said.

“The process of applying and attending college can seem daunting, especially for first generation college students, and having a caring adult to help guide you can make a big difference.”

The student and mentor applications are available at http://tnpromise.gov.

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