May 28, 2019 | Betty Proctor | Internal Press Release
The Tennessee Reconnect Scholarship is a last-dollar scholarship that will allow all Tennessee adults who qualify to attend an eligible institution free of tuition and mandatory fees. This state-wide program for adults 24 or older has proven to be a great success for students that put off college following high school or who experienced real life obstacles preventing their return to school.
Typically, adult students are acutely aware of their responsibilities and often apprehensive about heading back to school after six or more years out of high school. The Reconnect program at Chattanooga State offers support for adult students and helps them work through or around barriers to help them succeed.
Chattanooga State Community College has published stories about Reconnect students, who like most adult students, desperately wanted to return to get a degree, but remained apprehensive about actually doing it; however, they did it, and you can too.
When Donna Pickering was a teen, her dream was to become a special effects makeup artist after seeing Star Wars. She saved up money to move to LA, but her life took a different path and she sacrificed her dream. After 42 years, Donna returned to school and says that she had the time of her life, graduating with a 4.0 GPA in 2019 with a degree in Digital Media Design & Production as a Media Technologies major.
Family support was a contributing factor in Al Sands return to college after a 20-year hiatus. Starting out with one class “to get back into the groove,” he wanted to make sure he could manage working full-time while attending college. “The Reconnect grant has helped me financially to continue my education without the burden of student loans,” states Al, who graduated in December 2018 as an Accounting major using the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.
It’s a fact: life happens. 39-year-old Rosanna Walker started college after high school, but did not finish her degree. She worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant with a goal of becoming a nurse. Marriage and two children later, she enrolled in the LPN program and graduated in 2011. Following the birth of her third child, Rosanna wanted more and TN Reconnect was her ticket. “With the financial assistance, advising and part-time flexibility that Reconnect offers, now is the time to invest in your future and your family’s future,” advises Rosanna.
Watching each of your children graduate from college is a source of parental pride; however, knowing that you did not graduate due to life circumstances can be a little sad, so, following the graduation of his youngest daughter, 52-year-old Jim Fry decided it was time to return and meet his goal. Selecting history as his major, Jim had no idea that his life would change so dramatically. He became ensconced in student life becoming a member of two honor societies, helped to resurrect the C.AD.R.E. Adult Student club, spoke publicly on behalf of Reconnect, became a published author, and this spring was named as Community College Student of the Year during the Statewide Outstanding Achievement Recognition award ceremony (SOAR) by the College System of Tennessee. Jim’s empathy and love of education is contagious. Jim also served as the keynote speaker during Chattanooga State’s 2019 Commencement Exercises. “Through Governor Haslam’s ‘Drive to 55,’the TN Reconnect grant has made it possible for me to attend tuition-free and focus on these new goals I have set for myself,” states Jim.
Inspirational stories about adult students who have found new meaning and purpose in their lives thanks to the benefits derived from TN Reconnect can be found at https://www.chattanoogastate.edu/adult-success-stories. TN Reconnect is a game changer for many adult students. To find out more about TN Reconnect, Chattanooga State offers regular Information Sessions led by Marsha Barker of Adult Services. These sessions will help qualified students find out what is required, how to apply, and explain how TN Reconnect can help them attain their goals. Sessions held at 10 a.m. are scheduled for May 30 and June 22; 5 p.m. sessions will be held June 18 and 27. All sessions are held in the Instructional Materials Center (IMC), room 124. To sign up for a session or for more information, call (423) 697-3346 or visit https://www.chattanoogastate.edu/tnreconnect.