CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- AT&T is contributing $10,000 to each of Tennessee's community colleges to accelerate students' progress toward certificates and degrees.
"This may prove to be a more attractive way for corporations to contribute. They would rather deal with one person than have 13 community colleges knocking on their door," said Cleveland State President Carl Hite, who was attending the Tennessee Board of Regents' quarterly meeting at Roane State Community College.
The Board of Regents sets policy for the state universities and colleges not in the University of Tennessee system, including community colleges.
"It is our goal to ensure that students are fully prepared to enter the workforce and that they can find good jobs right here in Tennessee when they graduate," AT&T Regional Director Mary Steward Lewis said in a written statement.
The Tennessee General Assembly passed the Complete College Tennessee Act last year, said state Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville. The act makes possible contributions like the one from AT&T, he said.
"These scholarships show what can happen when the private sector works with our institutions of higher learning to help students graduate," Bell said.
State Reps. Kevin Brooks and Eric Watson, both R-Cleveland, said the scholarships will be good for job creation in the region.
The Tennessee Board of Regents' Office of Academic Affairs developed an accelerated curriculum for college completion to increase graduation rates at community colleges.