The state has a final count of students who have applied for Tennessee Promise, the last-dollar scholarship that guarantees free community college tuition: 56,571. That accounts for more than 90 percent of high school seniors in the state.
Candace Ogilvie, a college and career counselor at Antioch High School, says teachers there set aside class time, carted in laptops and had their students fill out the Tennessee Promise application. This was especially helpful, she says, for kids with low test scores who hadn’t been thinking about college.
“This was an ‘a-ha’ moment for them,” she says. ” ‘There is opportunity for me, there is hope for me, and I can afford to go as well.’ ”
Ogilvie says, to her knowledge, every eligible high school senior at Antioch applied for Tennessee Promise — about 300 signups out of the 365-student class. The 65 or so students who didn’t sign up weren’t eligible because they didn’t have social security numbers.
The next step for these seniors is to apply to a specific community college and fill out the federal financial aid form known as FAFSA. They will be paired with a volunteer mentor in January to help them through the process.