Tennessee Promise

Columbia State is proud to be a participating college for Tennessee Promise, a statewide program that allows graduating high school and home school seniors the opportunity to earn a degree or certificate from a community or technical college regardless of financial status.

Beginning with the Class of 2015, Tennessee Promise has provided Tennessee high school and home school graduates the opportunity to attend a community or technical college free of tuition and fees.

What is Tennessee Promise?

Tennessee Promise is a scholarship, mentoring and community service program that began fall semester 2015. It provides students a last-dollar scholarship, meaning the Tennessee Promise will cover tuition and fees not covered by the Pell Grant, the HOPE scholarship, or TSAA funds. Students may use the scholarship at any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or other eligible institution offering an associate degree program. While removing the financial burden is key, a critical component of Tennessee Promise is the individual guidance each participant will receive from a mentor who will assist the student as he or she navigates the college admissions process. In addition, Tennessee Promise participants must complete eight hours of community service prior to each term enrolled, as well as maintain satisfactory academic progress (2.0 GPA) at their institution.

Tennessee Promise COVID-19 Updates

Due to the current conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and out of an abundance of caution THEC/TSAC has made the decision to WAIVE the July 1, 2020 community service requirement.

A Tennessee Promise student enrolling at an eligible institution for the Summer or Fall semester will not be required to complete and submit community service to maintain eligibility for that term.

Summer 2020 Updates

TN Promise college students are now able to receive TN Promise funding for the summer 2020 term at an eligible institution without having to be enrolled full-time. This means students can receive funding if they are enrolled in less than 12 credits this summer.

Important things to remember

  • This only applies to current TN Promise students, not incoming students!
  • Student GPA will still be reviewed at the end of the academic year before the start of the fall 2020 semester. Students MUST have at least a 2.0 GPA by the start of the fall 2020 semester to remain eligible for the scholarship.
  • Receiving TN Promise summer funding will count toward a student's five semesters of available funding.

If you have any questions please e-mail them to Barry Owens,II (bowensjr@columbiastate.edu)

Community Service Information
In order to remain eligible for the scholarship, one requirement is to complete eight hours of community service prior to each semester of enrollment.
Visit Community Service to Learn More
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Ready to Apply?

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Who is eligible?

  • Tennessee resident
  • Graduate from eligible TN high school or home school program, or, prior to 19 years of age, obtain GED or HiSET diploma

What are the initial requirements for Tennessee Promise?

  • Complete the Tennessee Promise application
  • Apply for admissions and enroll in an eligible school (Columbia State)
  • Work with an assigned mentor
  • Meet all deadlines and requirements
  • Begin college the fall after graduation
  • Attend full-time

What fees are covered by the Tennessee Promise?

  • Maintenance Fee
  • Student Activity Fee
  • Technology Access Fee
  • Program Services Fee
  • International Education Fee (waived for the 2020-2021 academic year)

What are the requirements for keeping Tennessee Promise?

In order to keep Tennessee Promise, students must meet all deadlines and requirements, including the following:

  • Maintain full-time enrollment with a minimum of 12 hours per semester.
  • Maintain a 2.0 GPA.
  • Complete eight hours of community service prior to each semester of enrollment.

Important Dates for Students

In order to participate in the Tennessee Promise, students must meet several requirements and deadlines:

  • Apply to the Tennessee Promise program by November 1, 2020 - TN Promise Application
  • Complete 2020-2021 FAFSA application by February 1, 2020 - FAFSA Application.
  • Attend mandatory meetings as coordinated by your county’s partnering organization.
  • Apply to a community or technical college in the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 - Columbia State-Become a Student.
  • Deadline to complete financial aid verification and community service hours for Fall is July 1, 2020.


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Useful links

  • CollegeforTN.org is a website offering an array of resources for students interested in learning about higher education.

  • Students must complete the FAFSA in order to be eligible for the Tennessee Promise. 

  • Tennessee has 13 community colleges located across the state, with multiple satellite campuses. These colleges offer two-year associate's degrees and other certification programs.
  • Tennessee has 27 colleges of applied technology located across the state, which provide technical training for workers to obtain the technical skills and professional training necessary for advancement in the job market.

  • TSAC is a state agency that provides financial assistance for postsecondary educational opportunities to Tennessee residents and other students who have established eligibility in accordance with program guidelines. 

  • Tennessee Transfer Pathways are advising tools designed to help community college students plan to transfer to a Tennessee public or private four-year institution to complete a baccalaureate degree. 

Administration of Tennessee Promise

The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) will administer the scholarship component of Tennessee Promise, while local, non-profit partnering organizations will coordinate the mentoring and community service pieces. County mayors selected partnering organizations for their counties in the summer of 2014. Once a student applies to the Tennessee Promise program, his or her respective partnering organization will be responsible for reaching out regarding program requirements and mentorship connections.


Barry Owens, Jr.
Coordinator, Veterans, Evening and Transition Programs
Columbia Campus, Warf 109