October 4, 2017 | Betty Proctor | Internal Press Release
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) has awarded $200,000 to Chattanooga State Community College through the Tennessee Promise Forward grant competition. Through the efforts this grant funds, the College will work to enable more Tennessee Promise students to earn a post-secondary credential. “Across our state’s community colleges, great work is being done to ensure that the students who begin college with the Tennessee Promise go on to earn a credential," said Mike Krause, Executive Director of THEC. “Tennessee Promise Forward grants provide community colleges with the opportunity to expand successful programs and develop innovative student supports. From parent engagement pilots to service learning, THEC is excited to see the impact that this year’s Tennessee Promise Forward grants will have on student success."
On average, 9,750 prospective students apply to Chattanooga State annually. Just over 5,000 never enroll. For those who do and are Tennessee Promise scholarship holders, roughly a quarter do not progress to their second year. In order to reverse these statistics, Chattanooga State has developed a new Success Coaching model where, for their first 24 credit hours, every new applicant has one contact person who is ever-present to help them. Then, Academic Completion Specialists continue the work that Success Coaches began. While this sounds comprehensive, with more than 8,600 students on campus, it is challenging to ensure that they do not fall through the cracks. Chattanooga State’s Director of Academic Retention, Julius Dodds, said, “This grant will help the Success Coaches and Academic Completion Specialists track student milestones through a new customer relationship management system that will interface with other campus software to help the coaches and specialists identify academically at-risk students and create a comprehensive strategy for each student’s success.” Finally, Chattanooga State will employ a Tennessee Promise Service Learning Coordinator to work with students to find meaningful service learning opportunities that are aligned with their field of study. Plus, the College will have a Tennessee Promise Student Transfer Assistant to help graduating students successfully enroll in a four-year degree program.
Dodds added, “We are very pleased that THEC saw the positive outcomes we intend to accomplish through the work of this grant. We are honored that they awarded us the maximum amount the grant competition allowed.” Chattanooga State’s award was one of five totaling $800,000. The Tennessee Promise Forward grant program began in 2015 with the goal of retaining Tennessee Promise students at community colleges. The program was initially funded through a College Access Challenge Grant from the U.S. Department of Education and received a non-recurring allocation in the 2017-18 State budget due to positive results in the past two years. The institutions were chosen through a competitive application process.
Story by Jeff Lemon