Applications are down for Tennessee Promise scholarship opportunity

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Promise deadline is almost here, and officials say the application rates are low across the state — especially in Shelby County.

Your child could be missing out.

“Connecting with students has been harder than it’s ever been before,” said Graham Thomas, deputy director of partnerships at Tennessee Achieves, a mentoring program in partnership with Tennessee Promise.

2020 has placed an extreme hardship on students across Tennessee and Shelby County, not only in school but when it comes to planning to attend higher education.

Thomas said applications for the scholarship are down 17% statewide and 24% in Shelby County.

“If the trend were to continue by the time the application deadline rolls around, which is November 2, we have about 10,000 less students applying for Tennessee Promise than last year.”

Tennessee Promise gives graduating seniors the opportunity to attend select higher-education schools for two years, tuition-free.

On average the state spends $30 million a year on the scholarship but with application numbers low, they’re looking at about $5 million left on the table, Thomas said.

“You only have one chance to apply and it’s while you’re a senior in high school,” Thomas said.

He believes COVID-19 has played a large factor in the low numbers. He said with kids out of school, they don’t have the opportunity to connect with school counselors to learn about the scholarship.

If you want to help out a child, Tennessee Achieves needs about 9,000 volunteers and mentors.

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