$1.6 Million Awarded to Fund College Access and Success Initiatives

NASHVILLE —The Tennessee College Access and Success Network awarded a total of $412,426 today to six schools, two higher education institutions and four nonprofits in its third annual grant competition, raising the total amount of Race to the Top funds awarded by the Network to more than $1.6 million.

"The Tennessee College Access & Success Network is providing meaningful and wise investments to promote educational success across the spectrum of student groups in our state. This latest round of funding reflects a commitment by our state to ensure our policy of more college graduates is a real and reasoned strategy," said State Representative Joe Pitts, member of the House Education Committee.

The 12 awarded programs are adapted and personalized versions of identified proven best practices from across the state and contribute to the Network’s mission to establish a college-going culture in all Tennessee communities. The proposed projects include services focused on stages of transition, pre-dual and dual enrollment programs, higher education retention programs, services for non-traditional student populations, on-site high school programs, and services through creative arts.

“This was our most competitive competition to date and the decisions were extremely difficult,” said Bob Obrohta, the Network’s executive director. “The awarded programs reflect the need to serve a broad spectrum of underserved populations, all types of communities, and a variety of strategies as we strive to reach Governor Haslam’s goal of 55 percent of the population having a degree or certification by 2025. There is no one silver bullet.”

Bradley County Schools, Clarksville Montgomery County Schools, Lead Academy (Nashville), Meigs County High School, Milan Special School District, and Scotts Hill High School (Henderson County) will all receive about $40,000 to implement their proposed onsite, transition, and pre-dual and dual enrollment programs.

Through non-traditional student population grants, Pellissippi State Community College (Knoxville, $37,982) and Volunteer State Community College (Gallatin, $26,860) will serve veteran students and adult students, respectively.

Martha O’Bryan Center’s and Oasis Center’s awarded programs will provide support and assistance to help current college students persist through challenges and stay enrolled in higher education. Southern Word will serve high school students, college students and families through the creation of spoken word troupes.  Southwest Tennessee Development District will use grant funds to create 11 college access centers in area high schools that can be used to navigate the college admissions and financial aid processes.

The Network received 79 grant applications in its 2013 competition. The winning 12 projects will serve 27,000 students and families across the state, bringing the total number of students and family members served through Network grants to 60,500. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission and Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) are key partners of the Network and helped identify and refine the list of model best practices from across the state.

For brief descriptions of each project or to learn more about the Network, visit tncollegeaccess.org

For more information, please contact Wendy Tabor, wtabor@tncollegeaccess.org, 615-983-6909.