Friday, July 24, 2015 05:00 PM


Education leaders scrambled for months to get tens of thousands of high school seniors invested inTennessee Promise.

But for the scholarship program to pass its most critical test, those students will have to do something more difficult than arrive on a college campus in four weeks.

They’ll need to stay there.

“History will judge us based on (if) these students persist and complete” their degrees, said Krissy DeAlejandro, executive director of tnAchieves, a nonprofit partnering with the state to administer Tennessee Promise. “If they stay three weeks and they don’t feel like they have all the tools they need to complete, then we’re no better off than we started.”

Most eligible students will start classes at one of the state’s community colleges on Aug. 24. As that day draws closer, program organizers are rolling out new initiatives in an effort to encourage students with vastly different backgrounds, priorities and academic records.


A tailored approach

Many experts have identified two factors that play pivotal roles in shaping a student’s success or failure in higher education: academic preparedness and socioeconomic status.

For instance, a student with a solid GPA who comes from a high-income family faces a very ...

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