NASHVILLE – The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) has released this statement from President and CEO David Mansouri about the inaugural college-going status report from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, which shows the state’s college-going rate for the class of 2021 fell to 52.8 percent, a 9-point decline since 2019.

We know that education beyond a high school diploma is critical to the future economic success of our state, to the future economic mobility of Tennesseans, and to ensuring Tennessee students can access great jobs that provide a pathway to a meaningful career. The declining college-going rate numbers released today show that the COVID-19 pandemic and a changing economy have had a deeply concerning impact on students and their families, particularly for students of color.  We have a lot to be proud of as a state in ensuring students are prepared for, can access, and enroll in college, but we have much more work to do.

The data released today provide Tennessee leaders with an opportunity to come together and focus our attention and effort on helping our high school graduates make a successful transition from high school to the postsecondary destination that best suits them, whether that be to a TCAT, community college, or university. SCORE stands ready to join with state and local partners in making a renewed postsecondary commitment; analyzing data to elevate leaders, districts, nonprofits, and institutions that are leading the way; and advancing bold new policies and practices that will help more students transition to college and help them complete. It’s time to act together and to act with urgency.