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The tnAchieves Blog

Glossary of Terms

June 9, 2020 

tnAchieves Specific Terms

  • College Requirements – As a TN Promise student in college, you must maintain a 2.0 GPA or above, enroll in at least 12 credit hours per semester and submit 8 hours of community service prior to each semester. TN Promise will cover up to five semesters at an eligible community college or four-year institution or eight trimesters at a Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT).
  • COMPLETE – The COMPLETE program provides students with an additional layer of support throughout their post-secondary career. Participating students work one-on-one with their designated coach throughout their college career.
  • COMPLETE Coach - A dedicated tnAchieves staff member working proactively with students to provide support and guidance through their college career. A coach adds an additional layer of support to the volunteer mentor.
  • Eligible Institutions – TN Promise eligible institutions include all Tennessee community colleges, TCATs and several four-year institutions. In order to utilize TN Promise, you must be enrolled in an associates degree program. A full list of eligible institutions can be found here.
  • Job Shadow Days – tnAchieves hosts Job Shadow Days two times a year across the state to provide students with the opportunity to learn more about their career field and gain community service hours. Partnering organizations from a variety of fields open their doors to provide students post-secondary guidance and insight into careers in their industry.
  • Knox Promise - A community based, comprehensive approach to help TN Promise students persist and succeed in attaining college degrees and credentials. Supports available to Knox Promise students include completion grants, a textbook stipend, a dedicated tnAchieves coach, and a summer support program.
  • CONNECT – tnAchieves CONNECT is the online mentoring platform that allows students and mentors to engage virtually. It also houses helpful resources and information regarding tnAchieves and the TN Promise scholarship.
  • Summer Programs – tnAchieves offers a variety of programs over the summer to help students begin their college career with success! Summer programs include the Summer Bridge Program, Summer Institute and Summer Success Program. Each program offers unique opportunities to engage with the college and build familiarity ahead of the first semester!
  • tnAchieves Mentor – Each TN Promise student is assigned a volunteer mentor from their community who has made the commitment to encourage and support them as they transition from high school to college. Students are encouraged to engage with their mentor throughout their transition to college and leverage this valuable resource!


Scholarships/Financial Aid

  • FAFSA – The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) serves as the application for federal and state aid, and is completed at In addition to being a TN Promise requirement, filing the FAFSA by the established deadline increases the probability that eligible students will receive more aid. Some scholarships are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so completing the FAFSA as soon as possible is strongly encouraged.
  • HOPE Scholarship – The HOPE Scholarship is available to Tennessee students who graduate high school with a 3.0 GPA or above or a 21 ACT score or above. Eligible students at two-year institutions can receive up to $1,500 per semester.
  • Pell Grant – The Pell Grant is a need-based form of federal financial aid that is determined by your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Students’ federal funding is determined by information provided on their FAFSA.
  • TN Promise - TN Promise is a last-dollar scholarship that funds tuition and mandatory fees for up to five semesters at a community college or eligible four-year institution or eight trimesters at a Tennessee College of Applied Technology. All eligible tnAchieves students have completed the TN Promise application.
  • TSAA - The Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA) is a need-based, state-funded grant program and includes funds from the Tennessee Education Lottery. TSAA is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To receive priority consideration, students are strongly encouraged to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid as soon as possible after October 1 each year.
  • TSAC -The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) is a governmental financial aid agency that handles state and federal aid for Tennessee students. It administers state-funded scholarship funds, including the TN Promise and HOPE scholarships, directly to post-secondary institutions.
  • TSAC Institution – The institution listed on a student’s TSAC Student Portal is the institution to which state financial aid will be directed. We encourage students to log into their TSAC Student Portal before each semester to verify that all of their information is accurate and up to date.
  • UT Promise - UT Promise is a last-dollar, undergraduate scholarship that guarantees free tuition and mandatory fees to qualifying Tennessee residents enrolling at UT campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin and Memphis. While this is a separate scholarship opportunity from TN Promise, students are required to complete a UT Promise application and meet TN Promise deadlines to remain eligible for UT Promise.


College Campus Terms

  • Academic Advisor - This is the professor or faculty member that you will meet with before each semester to register for classes. They will advise you on what classes you need to take in order to stay on track and meet your degree requirements.
  • Admissions Office – The admissions office admits, processes and prepares all new students to begin college. They administer the college’s admissions application, coordinate the collection of admissions documents and host new student orientation sessions. All new students will work with their admissions office before starting classes.
  • Class Registration – This is the process of establishing a semester’s class schedule. All students will register for classes before the semester begins. Each college handles registration differently, however many first-time students will register when they complete new student orientation. In following semesters, students will meet with their academic advisor to complete class registration.
  • Disability Services – Disability Services is available at every college and is there to ensure equal access, opportunities for students with disabilities and protect them against discrimination. Students are encouraged to contact Disability Services for supports and guidance as they prepare for classes.
  • Financial Aid Office – The financial aid office manages each student’s financial aid package and applies scholarships, grants and other financial aid resources to students. They may contact students if they have outstanding requirements to ensure their financial aid file is complete.
  • New Student Orientation – New student orientation typically occurs the summer prior to your first semester. Students will likely register for classes, ensure their admissions/financial aid files are complete and finalize any other steps needed to enroll in the fall. While new student orientation varies by institution, this is a time to familiarize yourself with the campus and its resources.


Admissions and Enrollment Terms

  • TN Promise Appeal - Students can submit an appeal for a leave of absence through the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) or their college’s financial aid office. The most common needs for a TN Promise appeal are health-related or required military training. Students with an approved appeal are exempt from TN Promise scholarship requirements that occur during their leave of absence. Their scholarship eligibility resumes when they return.
  • College Credential --
    • Certificate Degree Programs: A post-secondary credential that is designed for students who are looking for a short-term educational experience and wish to join the workforce quickly. Certificate programs allow students to gain mastery of a specific skill, such as welding, dental hygiene or practical nursing. Students can pursue certificate degree programs at community colleges and Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.
    • Tennessee Transfer Pathways (TTP): A course of study that allows students to begin classes at a community college and earn an associates degree. These credits transfer to a bachelor’s degree program at any public university and some private universities in Tennessee. Students can pursue Tennessee Transfer Pathways at community colleges.
    • Associates Degree Programs: An undergraduate degree that is achieved by completing at least 60 post-secondary credit hours. Students can either enter the workforce upon completion or transfer to a four-year institution to complete their bachelor’s degree. Students can pursue associates degree programs at community colleges and select four-year colleges and universities.
    • Bachelor’s Degree Programs: An undergraduate degree that is achieved by completing at least 120 post-secondary credit hours. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree are not eligible for the TN Promise scholarship. Most students enter the workforce upon completion, while some students will continue their education in a graduate degree program. Students can pursue bachelor’s degree programs at four-year colleges and universities.
  • Learning Support – Courses designed to help students reach a college-ready level in subject areas like reading, math and English. Learning Support courses are eligible for TN Promise funding. Students testing into these courses can participate in the tnAchieves Summer Bridge Program to get a head start on these subject-areas!
  • Placement Tests – Placement tests are used to determine what courses students should take. These tests act as a tool to better understand a student’s academic performance in certain subject areas. Students are encouraged to check with the admissions office to determine their specific placement testing requirements.
  • Proof of Citizenship – The most common forms of documentation that act as Proof of Citizenship are a U.S. Passport, Birth Certificate and Certificate of Citizenship. An institution may ask for Proof of Citizenship as a part of the enrollment process; you can work with their Office of Admissions to determine how this is to be submitted.
  • Transcript - This is an official document from your institution that includes your academic history and performance. A college will require that students provide a high school transcript as part of the admissions process.
  • Verification – This is a process in which students are selected at random to provide supplemental information to their financial aid office to receive scholarship funding. Students are encouraged to work with the financial aid office in a timely manner to ensure they meet necessary requirements.