Celebrating our 100,000th student to enroll in college!

When knoxAchieves launched in 2008, 267 students enrolled in college with knoxAchieves support. Twelve years later, tnAchieves has expanded to 90 of Tennessee’s 95 counties and has worked with nearly 400,000 students. This fall marks the 100,000th student to enroll in college supported by tnAchieves!

Many of the 100,000 represent the first person in their families to attend college. It is important to note that tnAchieves students are outpacing state and national averages with completion; therefore, many of the 100,000 represent the first person in their families to graduate from college. While the majority attend a Tennessee community college, others earn certificates and diplomas at Tennessee technical colleges (TCATs), which is an equally impressive accomplishment! Many of the 100,000 begin in an associate’s degree program at TN Promise eligible four-year institutions. Many transfer to four-year institutions across the state. Many are finding success, fulfilling their potential and breaking family cycles while working full time, supporting families and fighting housing and food insecurities.

Many students struggle with non-academic challenges that push the tnAchieves team to think bigger and dig deeper because supports matter. tnAchieves is more than a last-dollar scholarship. It provides the scaffolding and foundation many students need to level the post-secondary playing field.

tnAchieves staff continue to talk to students and families every day. These conversations influence and direct the pivots happening at tnAchieves to serve the next 100,000 students. tnAchieves will continue to close equity gaps, unearth systemic barriers and increase college completion rates. The tnAchieves team will work to meet each individual student where they are at this vast scale. This is how to change culture.

The culture-changing work of tnAchieves could not be accomplished without:

  • tnAchieves students and families for making the critical decision to pursue and earn a post-secondary credential;
  • Tennessee communities for investing in students by serving as volunteer mentors (61,663 recruited since 2008);
  • Tennessee business and industry partners for bridging the gap between education and workforce development;
  • Tennessee high school leaders (particularly school counselors) for relentlessly advocating for students;
  • Post-secondary partners for opening doors to students and providing them with the support needed to find success; and
  • The tnAchieves Board of Directors and team for passionately insisting the student remain at the center of all conversations and for pushing the program to find innovative ways to best serve students.

To celebrate, tnAchieves will be hosting a weeklong series of discussions with some of the stakeholders that made this milestone possible. Please join us to hear how tnAchieves has impacted students, mentors, schools, communities and employers!

To register for any of the discussions, simply follow the links to register via Zoom Webinars. After registering, you will receive instructions on how to access the specific event.

The Beginnings of tnAchieves

tnAchieves launched in 2008 with the mission to increase post-secondary opportunities for Knox County students. We have been sprinting since, as we are now serving more than 60,000 new students annually. Join former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, The University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd and former Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale as they discuss the origins of tnAchieves and how the program has grown from 1 to 90 counties!

A Conversation with Current tnAchieves Students

Join a panel of current tnAchieves students as they discuss their college journeys, the impact of our program on their college success and how they would encourage new students!

tnAchieves From a College President's Perspective

TN Promise has increased the state’s college-going rate and transformed the college-going culture across Tennessee. College presidents are always seeking new and innovative ways to serve students on their campuses. Join Dr. Rebecca Ashford (Chattanooga State), Dr. Michael Torrence (Motlow State), Dr. Karen Bowyer (Dyersburg State) and Dr. Paul Stumb (Cumberland University) as they discuss the impact of tnAchieves on Tennessee’s colleges!

tnAchieves' Impact on Business & Industry

Join 21st Mortgage CEO Tim Williams, the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce's Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce Development Beth Duffield and a representative from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee as they discuss how tnAchieves has impacted economic development in Tennessee!

tnAchieves' Impact on Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs)

Join TCAT Presidents Youlanda Jones, Cliff Wightman and Mike Whitehead as they discuss the impact of tnAchieves on technical education in Tennessee. TCATs have seen a significant increase in enrollment since the launch of TN Promise. These leaders will speak to the effects and outcomes of the growth!

A Conversation with tnAchieves College Graduates

Join a panel of tnAchieves college graduates! They will speak to their experience with our program, the impact of tnAchieves on their success and their life after college.

tnAchieves' Impact on Post-Secondary Innovation

tnAchieves' presence in the community landscape has inspired new and innovative programming. Many of the programs were catalyzed by community college presidents. This conversation will include Presidents Dr. Shanna Jackson (Nashville State), Dr. Tracy Hall (Southwest Tennessee Community College) and Dr. Anthony Wise (Pellissippi State) - three community college presidents that have partnered with tnAchieves to champion transformative programming.

A Conversation with tnAchieves Mentors

tnAchieves mentors have been a vital component of our program since our launch in 2008. Mentors have changed the way students, families and communities view college. Much of our success can be attributed to our volunteer mentors! Please join mentors from Jefferson, Rutherford and Shelby counties to discuss the impact our more than 9,000 tnAchieves mentors are making each year.

tnAchieves' Summer Programming

Bridging the gap between a student's high school senior year and college freshman year led to the creation of our Summer Bridge Program and Summer Institute. Both programs aim to increase students' readiness for their first college semester. Students participating in our summer programs are outpacing their peers in college success! This panel will take a deep dive into summer programs and will feature students, administrators and professors.

tnAchieves' Impact on High Schools

Our team spends a significant amount of time communicating with and visiting high schools! Counselors, principals and other staff are vital contributors to our students' success as they transition from high school to college. Hear from experienced high school-level leaders, as they discuss the impact tnAchieves has had on their students' experiences.

A Conversation with State and Local Officials

The TN Promise scholarship would not have been possible without the support of state and local leadership. As the partnering organization in 90 counties, we have the opportunity to collaborate with many elected and appointed officials to administer our program. Join Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Mike Krause, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora Tydings, Speaker Cameron Sexton and Mayor Jake Bynum as they discuss what tnAchieves means to the statewide higher-education conversation.

Knox Promise

In partnership with the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), Knox Promise was launched in 2019 with the generous support of the Haslam Family Foundation. The program is a community-based, comprehensive approach to help Tennessee Promise students persist and succeed in attaining college degrees and credentials. Hear from current students and program administrators about how the program has already changed the way many leaders think about the college process!

tnAchieves' Impact on School Districts

When TN Promise launched in 2015, school districts began changing the way they discuss the idea of college with students at all grade levels. The scholarship guarantees that students will be able to earn a college degree free of tuition. Join Tennessee Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn, Clarksville Montgomery County Director of Schools Dr. Millard House and Haywood County Superintendent Joey Hassell as they discuss the impact that tnAchieves has had on their school systems' approaches to college.

tnAchieves from a National Perspective

Other communities and states have launched programs like the TN Promise scholarship! With more than a decade of experience leading a last-dollar scholarship program, tnAchieves has provided advice and consultation to many of these groups as they begin to plan their programs. Join former Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter now of College Promise, Michelle Miller-Adams of the Upjohn Institute and Celeste Carruthers of the University of Tennessee's Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research as they discuss the impact tnAchieves has on the national college landscape.