tnAchieves is the partnering organization to the TN Promise Scholarship in 84 of the 95 counties in Tennessee. Our mission is to increase higher education opportunities for Tennessee high school students by providing last-dollar scholarships with mentor guidance.
With the mission of eliminating the barriers associated with entering the post-secondary pipeline, tnAchieves launched as a universal last-dollar community and technical college scholarship that paired students with volunteer mentors and required its students to complete at least 8 hours of community service each semester. The founders of tnAchieves understood that students, particularly at-risk students, need more than funding to complete college; therefore, tnAchieves offers a holistic approach to student access and success by providing wrap-around supports to students in an effort to increase Tennessee’s post-secondary attainment rate.
From 2008-2014, tnAchieves supported more than 10,000 students into a community or technical college with more than $15.5M privately raised exclusively for last-dollar student scholarships. Their statistics indicate that their students are retaining and graduating at a rate 50 percent greater than state averages. This is particularly important when you consider 65 percent of tnAchieves students are first generation college attendees and 70 percent come from families who earn less than $50,000 annually. Moreover, while the nation laments the student debt crisis, in Tennessee they have identified a solution as 94 percent of their graduates reported they completed post-secondary debt free.
Understanding this success, but faced with the reality that only 32.9 percent of Tennesseans held a post-secondary degree, the state launched the Drive to 55 campaign which seeks to comprehensively improve its higher education policies by achieving 55 percent post-secondary attainment by 2025.
Modeled after tnAchieves, TN Promise was launched under the Drive to 55 umbrella to ensure no student would be limited from the pursuit of a post-secondary degree because of socio-economic status, zip code or background.
tnAchieves currently serves as the partnering organization to Tennessee Promise in 85 counties. The program established 84 county-based advisory councils comprised of local higher education, secondary education and business leaders as well as public officials to ensure local ownership and sustainability. tnAchieves annually recruits and trains nearly 7,500 volunteers to serve as mentors to nearly 60,000 TN Promise applicants as they transitioned from high school to college.
Because of increased supports by tnAchieves and other programs, Tennessee leads the nation in FAFSA filing. In fact, the state had the highest year over year gain in percentage of students who filed FAFSA and accounted for more than 40 percent in FAFSA growth across the entire country in 2015. With 16,291 students from the Class of 2015 attending an eligible institution as a part of TN Promise, the community colleges experienced a 24 percent increase of full-time students while technical college enrollment increased more than 20 percent. This represents a 10 percent overall increase in Tennessee public higher education enrollment, and an unprecedented 4.6 percent increase in the state’s college-going rate. This increase is more than the last 7 years combined!
Although TN Promise created an endowment for student scholarships, tnAchieves continues to provide all the supports necessary for student success. From filing financial aid to hosting summer bridge programs for remedial students, nearly every senior across Tennessee engages with tnAchieves as part of their journey from high school through college.See more