The Tennessee Promise, a state program that will cover tuition and fees for new high school graduates to attend state community and technical colleges, is set to begin in the fall of 2015, and has some 4-year institutions changing their recruitment strategies.
Austin Peay State University Spokesperson Bill Persinger said Austin Peay qualifies to receive Tennessee Promise students because it offers associates degrees, but he said the university has begun working closer with community colleges on transfer agreements. He also said the university just started its own scholarship incentive.
“We’ve just launched what we call the Austin Peay Promise, which is a scholarship," Persinger said. "If you obtain a 3.0 scholarship or higher you could receive up to $4,000 in scholarship money to attend Austin Peay University.”
Persinger says he is unsure of the initial effect Tennessee Promise could have on enrollment, but expects it will increase in the long term by encouraging more people to pursue 4-year degrees.
East Tennessee State University and the University of Memphis have ramped up their recruitment strategies to prepare for potential enrollment impacts from the Tennessee Promise.
Governor Bill Haslam said at a New York Times conference on community colleges that 4-year schools were worried about losing revenue if their freshman and sophomore enrollment dropped as a result of this new program, but he said he believes the 4-year schools will eventually receive more students as result.