CU & Tennessee Promise

Cumberland University will be participating in Tennessee Promise. So what does that mean for you?

tnpromise-logo-1Cumberland University is pleased to announce participation in the Tennessee Promise scholarship for Tennessee high school graduates beginning with the Class of 2015. The program is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning it will cover college costs not met through Pell, HOPE, or TSAA up to the average tuition and mandatory fees at Tennessee public community colleges.

Cumberland will offer the following Associate Degrees:

  • Associate in Arts (AA)
  • Associate in Business (AAB)
  • Associate in Arts in Criminal Justice (AA in CJ)
  • Associate in Arts in Education (AA in Ed)
  • Associate in Science

As part of the program, students are being paired with a partnering organization serving their home county and will be provided with a mentor who will support them during the college application process.  High school seniors applied for the Tennessee Promise scholarship before November 1, 2014 and are now preparing for the second mandatory deadline, completing the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by February 15, 2015

Gov. Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Promise will bring significant changes to the state’s higher education landscape, so we’re taking this opportunity to address several common questions and misconceptions about the new initiative, specifically as it impacts Cumberland University.

Tennessee Promise is part of the state’s Drive to 55 campaign, which aims to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certifications to 55 percent by the year 2025. Through Tennessee Promise, graduating high school seniors will be eligible to earn an associate’s degree or certificate free of tuition and fees.

Have questions? Take a look at these FAQs.

Who is eligibale for Tennessee Promise?

Any high school senior who graduates from a Tennessee eligible high school or completes a Tennessee home school program can apply for the Promise. Students applied in early fall (2014) of their high school senior year and began working with a mentor and attending mandatory meetings in their counties in January 2015. While the Tennessee Promise is available to all students regardless of socioeconomic status, partnering organizations will work with high school guidance counselors to target at-risk students who would otherwise not pursue any education beyond high school. The program will launch with the graduating class of 2015.

At what schools can you use Tennessee Promise?

Students can use the Tennessee Promise at any of Tennessee’s 27 colleges of applied technology (TCATs), 13 community colleges or any in-state independent or four-year public university offering an associate’s degree.

Is Cumberland University a recognized Tennessee Promise participant?

Yes, Cumberland University is a recognized participant in the program and will offer Associate Degree programs to incoming, qualified Tennessee Promise 2015 high school graduates who enter for the fall semester of 2015.

How will a student enroll in Tennessee Promise?

Once a partnering organization is setup in a county, it will work closely with high school counselors to heighten awareness of the program. Organizations will attend college nights and fairs to ensure all students know about Tennessee Promise and have the opportunity to apply.

Can a Tennessee Promise student participate in athletics at Cumberland University?

Cumberland University is a member of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) and a member of the Mid South Conference. For 2015-2016, students who are pursuing Associate degree programs at the University will not be eligible to participate in athletics at Cumberland University. Only students who are pursuing four-year baccalaureate degrees will be allowed to participate. This policy will be reviewed annually.

What are the student requirements?

To receive Tennessee Promise, a student must:

  1. Participate and meet all requirements of a Tennessee Promise partnering organization.
  2. Apply senior year and meet established application deadlines.
  3. Attend all scheduled team meetings and a mandatory college orientation.
  4. Begin at the postsecondary institution in the fall directly following high school graduation and remain at an eligibile institution for consecutive semesters. (A student may begin at his/her postsecondary institution in the spring or summer directly following high school graduation; however, the student will be responsible for incurred tuition and fees until fall.)
  5. Maintain at least 12 hours each semester.
  6. Attend a postsecondary institution for consecutive semesters. (If a student withdraws from all classes during the semester, he/she will no longer be eligible.)
  7. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by February 1st of each year beginning in high school and throughout his/her postsecondary experience
  8. Maintain satisfactory academic progress. At most institutions, this is the equivalent of maintaining a 2.0 GPA each semester.
  9. Complete at least eight hours of community service each semester. Failure to complete a requirement will result in loss of eligibility.

Is Tennessee Promise available for non-traditional students too?

No. The Tennessee State Legislature has decided that the Tennessee Promise funds will be for Tennessee residents who are high school seniors and who graduate from an eligible high school or home school program and anyone who completes a GED® or HiSET® diploma before 19 years of age.

Do Non-Citizens qualify for the Tennessee Promise?

No. In order to qualify fro the Tennessee Promise you must be able to complete the FAFSA as well as be a U.S. Citizen and Tennessee resident.

What type of degree can I pursue with the Tennessee Promise?

Tennessee Promise will only cover technical certificates, diplomas and two-year degrees. There are several reasons why Tennessee Promise is focused on certificates and two-year degrees. The primary reason is that forecasts show that much of our increased workforce demand will be in skills provided at our Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) and Community Colleges.

How will the Tennessee Promise be funded?

The Tennessee Promise will be funded within existing resources by interest from the newly established Tennessee Promise endowment and by changing the HOPE award for students attending community colleges from $2,000 per year to $3,000 per year, while reducing the award amount at the four-year institutions for freshmen and sophomores from $4,000 per year to $3,000 per year. The endowment will continue to grow as any net lottery proceeds above the general shortfall reserve will be added to the Tennessee Promise endowment.

How will the funds be administered?

After students meet all Tennessee Promise requirements and all other financial aid, with the exception of loans and work-study has been exhausted, the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) will send the funds directly to the institutions. The process for payment will be very similar to the distribution of TSAA grants and lottery scholarships.

When does the student get the cash for the scholarship?

Students never directly receive funding from Tennessee Promise. The partnering organizations will provide a final list of Promise students to TSAC. TSAC will then send the funds directly to the colleges each semester.

When do I apply for college admission?

You must have the application for admission to the college of choice submitted by February 15, 2015.

Can I use Tennessee Promise if I attend a four-year program first then transfer to an eligible Tennessee Promise college?

No. You must begin your college enrollment at an eligible Tennessee Promise college and in an eligible program. For complete details on Tennessee Promise, visit

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