Around the industry: Tennessee Promise attracts 90% of high school seniors

Bite-sized college and higher education industry news

  • Georgia: Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the state's university system, told state legislators last week that declining enrollments have threatened the financial future of 15 southern Georgia colleges and universities. The worst declines were seen at Bainbridge State College and Fort Valley State University, which both lost one in three students. School administrators say the declines have been caused, in part, by a recent state policy decision not to accept students who need more than two remedial classes. Declining enrollments hit schools twice as hard because most state funding is currently allocated based on headcount (Jones, Augusta Chronicle, 1/25).
  • Minnesota: A recent analysis by MinnPost revealed that about one-quarter of the state's incoming college students from 2006-2012 were placed in remedial courses. The highest rates of remediation were seen in urban areas such as Minneapolis (40%) and St. Paul (37%). However, high remediation rates were not isolated to urban areas, but were also seen at high schools considered to have desirable programs, MinnPost reports. Furthermore, black graduates in the state were more than twice as likely as their white peers to be placed in remedial courses. Remediation has become a focal point of higher education politics in Minnesota, and experts and lawmakers are considering a range of strategies to reduce the remediation rate (Hawkins et al., MinnPost, 1/26).
  • Tennessee: The state's "Tennessee Promise" program has proved wildly popular with residents in its inaugural application season, attracting about 90% of local high school seniors. Tennessee Promise has attracted national attention recently because it is the basis for Obama's free community college plan, called America's College Promise. The program allows resident students to apply for financial aid covering the cost of tuition at 40 community and applied technical colleges within Tennessee. Applications have exceeded estimates by thousands, so participating colleges are quickly preparing to accommodate additional students, for example, by planning to add extra classes on nights and weekends. The chancellor for the board of regents says the extra students may present a challenge, but he believes the schools will be ready (Tamburin, The Tennesseean, 1/24).

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