This blog was first published by ExcelinEd, a nonprofit organization founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that supports state leaders in transforming education to unlock opportunity and lifelong success for each and every child.
Tennessee has been on an intentional journey to build seamless pathways for its learners. A hallmark of this journey is how the state has focused on aligned, cross-sector strategies to build its policy framework. Let’s look at the Complete College Tennessee Act and the Tennessee Promise Scholarship Act — two legislative pillars of Tennessee’s learner pathway framework — to see how the Volunteer state has worked holistically to build on and off ramps to help all learners succeed in college and career.
Aligning postsecondary systems and structures: In 2010 Tennessee passed the Complete College Tennessee Act (CCTA), designed to increase student postsecondary completion rates at technical and community colleges and universities.
Expanding access and alignment: In 2014, Tennessee built on the success of the CCTA with the passage of the Tennessee Promise Scholarship Act, a last dollar scholarship for recent high school graduates to attend public community and technical colleges tuition-free. Tennessee Promise was one of the major parts of Governor Haslam’s postsecondary attainment initiative: The Drive to 55.
The work continues: Earlier this year, the legislature passed three policies intended to ensure more students succeed in postsecondary transition, persistence and eventual degree completion.
Adriana Harrington is policy director, innovation, at ExcelinEd. Bryce Warden is director of policy at SCORE.