If every student who applied for Tennessee’s free community college program actually went to community college, some schools in the state would nearly double their full-time enrollment.
For example, nearly 4,200 high school students chose Volunteer State Community College as their top choice school on their Tennessee Promise applications. That’s big, considering Vol State had 1,200 incoming freshman this year and has about 4,700 full-time students overall.
But Eric Melcher, communications coordinator at Vol State, says the school suspects many of these students only applied because their high schools made them. So it’s holding judgment until January, when Tennessee Promise applicants have their first in-person meeting — an information session with community mentors.
“That will let us know a little bit more who is committed to taking part in the program,” Melcher says. “We think, from that, we’ll take a closer look and be able to make some decisions about possible enrollment increases.”
Those decisions could include adding more night classes and hiring more short-term, part-time faculty. Melcher says the university can easily accommodate about 2,000 incoming freshmen next fall.
Meanwhile, Motlow State Community College in Rutherford County has already started preparing for an expected influx of students: It hosted an open house Tuesday to recruit new teachers, according to the Daily News Journal.
A few details worth noting: Students will have enroll in community college full-time in order to receive state funding. And although high school seniors marked their college of choice on the Tennessee Promise application last month, they still have to apply to the school separately in order to attend.