NASHVILLE -- With a Nov. 2 deadline looming, Gov. Bill Haslam is encouraging Tennessee high school seniors to apply for the Tennessee Promise, the state's scholarship and mentorship program that provides graduates free tuition to state community and technical colleges.
"My message to high school seniors is: this is your Tennessee Promise," Haslam said in his news release. "This is an opportunity for you to fulfill your potential, and you have an opportunity to change the future for yourself and for our state."
According to the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation, 15,830 students from the graduating high school class of 2015 are now utilizing Tennessee Promise benefits this fall, which is the first year of implementation.
The program offers "last-dollar" scholarships to students.
Community colleges are reporting substantial growth, with the number of students enrolling full time in community college directly after high school rising 14 percent since last year.
As a result of Tennessee Promise, Tennessee leads the nation in Free Application for Federal Student Aid completion, comprising 40 percent of the entire country's growth in FAFSA filings in 2015.
After completing the application by Nov. 2, students are required to file a FAFSA, attend two mandatory meetings and complete eight hours of community service. Haslam also encouraged adults to sign up to be mentors for Tennessee Promise students.
"The process of applying and attending college can seem daunting, especially for first-generation college students, and having a caring adult to help guide you can make a big difference," Haslam said.
Student and mentor applications are available online at tnpromise.gov.