TENNESSEE, USA — tnAchieves has begun its effort to recruit 9,000 volunteer mentors to meet its goal of providing every TN Promise applicant from the Class of 2020 with a local support system.
TN Promise, which affords every graduating high school senior in the state the opportunity to attend a community or technical college tuition-free, needs mentors to give one hour per month.
The time commitment is small but the impact can be life changing for students.
The organization provides a one-hour training session, a handbook and weekly communication to ensure the mentor is fully equipped to serve his/her students.
To learn more, or to apply to become a mentor, visit https://tnachieves.org/mentors/apply/.
“Tennessee Promise provides opportunity for every student in Tennessee,” said Krissy DeAlejandro, Executive Director, tnAchieves. “Going to college will change a student’s life forever. tnAchieves mentors are helping change the culture in our state. Mentors are shifting the conversation from, ‘should I go to college?’ to ‘where am I going to go to college?’”
The scholarship application has a universal accept policy. Nearly 64,000 students from the Class of 2019 applied.
Program administrators are expecting even more applicants from the Class of 2020.
Most of the TN Promise applicants will be the first in their family to go to college, according to a release from tnAchieves.
"Understanding that many obstacles can exist for first-generation college students, each applicant is assigned a volunteer mentor who assists the student in eliminating the barriers associated with post-secondary access and success," the release said. "tnAchieves mentors support students as they navigate the college-going process and provide the nudges many need to earn a college credential."
Data from the first year of the program indicates that TN Promise students are graduating at a rate almost three times their peers at the same institutions.
“We know the financial component of TN Promise is critical for many of our students attempting to access higher education." said Graham Thomas, Deputy Director of Outreach, tnAchieves. “We also know that even when the financial barrier is removed, successfully navigating the college-going process can be extremely difficult. A few reminders and simple words of encouragement can be a game changer for our students. The volunteer mentors are the reason TN Promise is working.”
Launched in 2008, tnAchieves is a privately-funded scholarship and mentoring program that seeks to provide an opportunity for every Tennessee student to earn a post-secondary degree. It operates as a 501(c)3 non-profit in support of the TN Promise initiative in 91 counties across the state.