KNOXVILLE – Today, Jim Haslam, on behalf of the Haslam Family Foundation, joined with several partnering organizations to announce a special investment of $6.2 million over three years to support Knox Promise, an innovative new initiative to help more Tennessee Promise students in Knox County persist and graduate from college.
Through a unique partnership between tnAchieves, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), the Haslam Family Foundation, and several area institutions, including Pellissippi State Community College, Knox Promise is being launched as a pilot program for Tennessee Promise-eligible students from the 2019 and 2020 Knox County high school graduating classes.
“Knox Promise is a first-of-its-kind community-based initiative that provides additional financial and coaching support to help more Tennessee Promise students successfully navigate their way through college,” said Krissy DeAlejandro, executive director of tnAchieves.
“Thanks to Mr. Haslam and this generous investment, tnAchieves will be able to provide more hands-on coaching and address student-specific needs that cause too many of our students to leave college before earning their degree. We are thrilled to share this exciting program with our eligible students and families.”
Knox Promise offers four high-impact supports to all Knox County high school graduates from the classes of 2019 and 2020 who are eligible for Tennessee Promise. Students who meet the criteria will be eligible to receive Completion Grants to offset unexpected or emergency expenses, a textbook support stipend, a dedicated tnAchieves Completion Coach, and a unique Summer Support Program in 2020 and 2021 for those students who need it.
“Throughout my time as a student at the University of Tennessee, the focus and support I received made all the difference in helping me succeed in the classroom and later in life,” said Jim Haslam, Founder of the Haslam Family Foundation. “So when I asked what could we do to help more of our students succeed and actually graduate from college, the message was clear: We need to knock down some remaining financial barriers and offer additional support to those students who need it the most.”
“Knox Promise recognizes that some of our students need support beyond the tuition dollars that Tennessee Promise provides. And we could not be more grateful to Jim Haslam and the Haslam family for making this pilot program possible,” said Randy Boyd, interim president of the University of Tennessee and board chair of tnAchieves.
“We think it could be a real game-changer for many of our students and families here in Knox County. I am also very pleased to see it launched here in Knox County, the original home of knoxAchieves, which eventually expanded into tnAchieves, and later into the Tennessee Promise.”
Boyd noted while the program is deeply rooted in student success, it is also a community-based workforce development initiative. Knox Promise will increase the number of Knox County students earning degrees and credentials to provide a more highly skilled workforce and to boost economic prosperity across the region.
To determine whether these types of additional financial and coaching supports work, Knox Promise will be externally evaluated by the University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research to verify results and to establish its impact.
“By offering high school graduates two years of tuition-free community or technical college, Tennessee Promise has already increased college enrollment and degree attainment throughout the state,” said David Mansouri, President and CEO of SCORE. “We believe that the Knox Promise model announced today can create something that other communities can learn from and potentially replicate across Tennessee and the nation.”
To learn more about Knox Promise, visit tnAchieves.org/KnoxPromise.