State Programs Update
The Tennessee Promise application opened on August 1st and application totals are ahead of the pace from the first two years of the program. The application is available through the TSAC Student Portal and will close on November 1st.
Rule changes for the Tennessee Promise and Ned McWherter Scholars programs were approved by the TSAC Board on September 27th. Significant changes to the Tennessee Promise rule included removing the August 1 verification deadline, removing the requirement that transfer students do not have to complete their degree prior to reaching a terminating event, and eliminating the renewal application.
For the Ned McWherter Scholars, the rules were amended to require enrollment within 16 months and a regain provision was added. These changes mirror the HOPE Scholarship. The retention of the award was simplified and a work requirement was removed from the institutional match.
For 2015-16, TN Promise had 16,300 students at a cost of $15.2M. About 54% of the students received an award from the program. Lottery-funded programs, including TN Promise and TCAT Reconnect, totaled $324M with 120,000 recipients.
TSAA had a record year with $80.1M paid to almost 45,000 recipients. For the current year, TSAC expects to spend just over $91M. The TSAC Board approved an over commitment ratio of 153% for the 2017-18 academic year. This means almost 50,000 students could receive TSAA. TSAC is truly appreciative for the commitment this administration has shown to the program.
The Community College Reconnect Grant (CCRG) began this fall and $1.5M has been disbursed to the community colleges. The CCRG provides a last dollar scholarship to independent students who have earned 30 hours or more towards their associate degree. The program is a pilot project and will be re-evaluated after funds have been expended.
The new legislative session will start in January. We have received only one proposed piece of legislation of note thus far. It establishes a new program for high school juniors enrolled in middle college programs.