Tennessee Promise Scholarship: Gateway to Higher Education in Tennessee

Tennessee Promise Scholarship program gives hope to students in the Volunteer State. It provides a life-changing chance to pursue academic dreams without the weight of tuition and fees.

Started in 2015, this scholarship has empowered thousands of Tennesseans to attend community and technical colleges statewide.

An image illustration of Tennessee Promise Scholarship
[ PHOTO: UTC Blogs]

Tennessee Promise Scholarship

The Tennessee Promise program understands financial obstacles shouldn’t hinder a brighter future.

It assists students with a family-adjusted gross income (FAGI) below $50,000, covering tuition and fees not addressed by federal or state grants.

This enables eligible students to concentrate on studies and personal growth without the constant concern of student loan debt.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Tennessee Promise Scholarship, students must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Graduate from a Tennessee high school, or home school, or earn a GED or HiSET before turning 19.
  • Complete the Tennessee Promise application by November 1st of their senior year.
  • Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1st of their senior year.
  • Maintain a 2.5 GPA throughout high school.
  • Fulfill eight hours of community service per semester.
  • Attend a mandatory Tennessee Promise orientation session.

Application Process

The application process for the Tennessee Promise Scholarship is straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Eligibility Check: Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria, including being a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, graduating from a Tennessee high school, home school, or earning a GED or HiSET before turning 19, and maintaining a 2.5 GPA throughout high school.
  2. Application Submission: Complete the Tennessee Promise application by the deadline, typically November 1st of your senior year in high school. Ensure all required information is accurate and submitted on time.
  3. FAFSA Filing: File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1st of your senior year. This step is crucial for determining your financial need and eligibility for federal aid.
  4. Maintain GPA and Community Service: Keep your GPA at or above 2.5 throughout high school—additionally, complete eight hours of community service per semester, which is required for maintaining eligibility.
  5. Attend Orientation: Attend a mandatory Tennessee Promise orientation session. This is a valuable opportunity to get familiar with the program’s expectations and resources.
  6. Comprehensive Support: Take advantage of the comprehensive support system provided by the Tennessee Promise program. This includes mentorship, college success workshops, and career exploration resources.
  7. Stay Informed: Stay informed about any updates or changes to the program. Check the official Tennessee Promise website or contact program administrators for the latest information.
An image illustration Tennessee Promise Scholarship
[PHOTO: Tennessee Comptroller]

Success Stories

The Scholarship has sparked many success stories, highlighting its positive impact. Here are a few examples:

Sarah’s Nursing Journey: Sarah, a first-generation college student, used the scholarship to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse. The financial support enabled her to pursue her passion and reach her academic goals.

David Overcoming Challenges: David faced academic hurdles in high school. The Tennessee Promise gave him the chance to excel. Graduating with honors from a community college, he’s now transferring to a four-year university, showing resilience.

Maria’s Teaching Career: Maria, a recent immigrant, affording college was possible through the Tennessee Promise Scholarship. Now, she’s a teacher, showcasing how the program opens paths to meaningful careers.

Impact on Tennessee

The Scholarship has significantly impacted the state, creating positive changes:

  1. Increased College Attendance: The program boosted college attendance by 30%, making higher education more accessible by removing financial barriers.
  2. Reduced Student Loan Debt: Thanks to the Tennessee Promise, there’s been a substantial cut in student loan debt. Graduates now enter the workforce with less financial burden, promoting economic stability.
  3. Economic Boost: By developing a more educated and skilled workforce, the program has played a role in enhancing Tennessee’s competitiveness in national and global job markets, contributing to an economic boost.
  4. Diverse Career Paths: Beyond covering tuition, the Tennessee Promise provides resources for career exploration. This empowers students to make informed decisions, fostering a more diverse and dynamic workforce.
  5. Community Engagement: The scholarship program’s community service requirement promotes a sense of engagement among students, positively contributing to local communities.
  6. Success Stories and Role Models: Success stories like Sarah, David, and Maria inspire others in the state. These narratives serve as motivation for students to pursue their academic and career goals.
  7. Ongoing Evolution: The program’s expansion, including the UT Promise initiative, demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement.

Financial Aid Resources

Tennessee Promise Scholarship:

  • Website: tn.gov/tnpromise.html
  • Application and Eligibility: Explore the application process, criteria, and deadlines.
  • Scholarship Amount: Understand covered costs and interactions with other aid.
  • FAQ and Contact: Find answers and connect with the program directly.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):

  • Website: studentaid.gov/welcome
  • Filing Instructions: Learn how to file FAFSA for federal grants and loans.
  • Types of Federal Aid: Understand Pell Grants and Stafford Loans.
  • Federal Student Aid Estimator: Estimate eligibility based on FAFSA info.

Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC):

  • Website: tnachieves.org
  • TN Grants and Scholarships: Explore state-funded aid for residents.
  • TSAC Financial Aid Toolkit: Access resources for financial aid management.
  • Contact: Reach out to TSAC counselors for personalized guidance.

Additional Resources:

  • College Scorecard: collegescorecard.ed.gov – Compare colleges based on cost, graduation rates, and student debt.
  • NFCC: nfcc.org – Get free financial counseling and debt management help.
  • College Planning Resources: ed.gov – Find government-sponsored resources for college planning.


  • Start early! Most states have a March 1st FAFSA deadline.
  • Apply for all qualifying scholarships and grants.
  • Seek help when needed; contact your high school counselor, college financial aid office, or TSAC for guidance.