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Knox Co. college readiness program expanding across Tennessee

The Knox Promise program started in 2019 and supports students as they transition from high school into college.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Knox County program that supports students as they transition from high school life into college is expanding across Tennessee through tnAchieves.

Knox Promise connects students receiving tuition help through the Tennessee Promise program with a "completion Coach" to support them during college. This person is meant to help address additional needs beyond finances, close economic and equity gaps and help guide them as they transition away from high school.

It started in 2019 and tnAchieves leaders said it increased the chances that an economically disadvantaged student stays in college by 156%. Now, they are expanding the program outside of Knox County and across the state.

The expansion is known as "COMPLETE" and will connect economically disadvantaged TN Promise students with a full-time, proactive coach. It will also allow eligible students to receive up to $3,000 in non-tuition funding during an academic year.

This money will be used to help close gaps related to food insecurity, housing and technology access. 

“The 9 percentage point drop in Tennessee’s college-going rate created a renewed sense of urgency at tnAchieves,” said Krissy DeAlejandro, President of tnAchieves. “We believe in the resiliency of our students but understand it is our responsibility to level the playing field so that ALL students can find success in college. You cannot be hungry and focus on your classwork."

Students will have access to their usual tnAchieves volunteer mentor and their COMPLETE coach in August 2022. Grants to help cover additional costs related to college will also be available in August 2022, according to a release.

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