NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Higher Education Commission announced today that over 56,000 Tennessee Promise applicants submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the Feb. 1 deadline.
“We are proud to report that more students have taken their first step toward college with the Tennessee Promise program than at any point since its inception,” said THEC/TSAC Executive Director Mike Krause. “This success represents opportunity not only for the student, but also for our state’s future economic development by providing a trained and educated workforce.”
Tennessee Promise is a last-dollar scholarship started in 2015 that allows recent high school graduates to complete an associate degree or technical certificate program free of tuition and mandatory fees at a community college or College of Applied Technology (TCAT).
The FAFSA is the form used to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study and loans. Completing the FAFSA application is the first step for students pursuing federal financial aid assistance for college and is a mandatory component for Tennessee Promise eligibility. According to Krause, due to the lengthy and detailed information required for completion, the submission process can be a hurdle for many students.
“Tennessee recognized early on that getting students through the FAFSA process was instrumental for progress forward to college enrollment,” Krause said. “Unfortunately, the FAFSA is seen as an obstacle. What our agency and partner organizations have done is make completing this step a priority in our student outreach. This increase indicates these efforts are making a difference.”
Since the beginning of Tennessee Promise, the state has continued to grow its FAFSA submission rate and has become a national leader in FAFSA filing. The increase from last year of 1,200 students reflects the largest number of completed FAFSAs by program deadline in Tennessee history.
“When we say we are relentlessly focused on students, these are the kind of results that occur. I am so proud to be part of this team,” said THEC/TSAC Executive Director Mike Krause.
Students who still need assistance with their FAFSA may call 1-800-342-1663. The FAFSA application is available online at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission was created in 1967 by the Tennessee General Assembly. The Commission develops, implements, and evaluates postsecondary education policies and programs in Tennessee while coordinating the state’s systems of higher education. There are nine public universities, two special purpose institutes, 13 community colleges, and 27 colleges of applied technology in Tennessee that educate nearly 250,000 students annually.