TNAchieves has begun recruiting 9,000 volunteer mentors to meet its goal of providing every TN Promise applicant from the class of 2019 with a local support system. TN Promise affords every graduating high school senior in the state the opportunity to attend a community or technical college tuition free. Nearly 63,000 students from the Class of 2018 applied for the scholarship, which has a universal accept policy. Program administrators are expecting even more applicants from the Class of 2019.
Most of the TN Promise applicants will be the first in their family to go to college. Understanding that many obstacles can exist for first generation college students, each applicant is assigned a volunteer mentor who assists the student in eliminating the barriers associated with post-secondary access and success. tnAchieves mentors support students as they navigate the college going process and provide the nudges many need to earn a college credential.
“Tennessee Promise provides opportunity for students across Tennessee,” said Krissy DeAlejandro, Executive Director, tnAchieves. “Every student should have the opportunity to reach his/her potential by earning a college credential. Mentors are helping create a culture change in our state, shifting the students’ mindset from ‘if college is an option’ to ‘where I plan to graduate college.’”
The time commitment is small, tnAchieves only asks mentors to give one hour per month, but the impact can be life changing for students. The organization provides a one hour training session, a handbook and weekly communication to ensure the mentor is fully equipped to serve his/her students.
“Mentors are the real difference maker for TN Promise students” said Graham Thomas, Deputy Director of Engagement and Partnerships, tnAchieves. “Eliminating the financial barrier is certainly a critical piece of the formula, but without a support system many of the students feel overwhelmed by the entire process. It is amazing how far a few reminders and a little encouragement can go!”
Launched in 2008, tnAchieves is a privately-funded scholarship and mentoring program that seeks to provide an opportunity for every Tennessee student to earn a post-secondary degree. It operates as a 501(c)3 non-profit in support of the TN Promise initiative in 84 counties across the state.
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