Tennessee Reconnect Continues Extraordinary Success

When Republican leaders created Tennessee Reconnect in 2017, an estimated 7,000 adults were expected to benefit from this groundbreaking education initiative. New numbers recently released by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) indicate that Reconnect has greatly exceeded those early expectations.

Through Jan. 15, more than 38,000 Tennesseans have already applied for the Reconnect Grant, which provides all adults without a degree access to community or technical college tuition-free, and at absolutely no cost to taxpayers. A quick snapshot of applicant data reveals:

  • The average applicant age was 33.7.
  • 56 percent had children.
  • 50 percent of applicants earned $25,000 or less annually.
  • 85 percent had high school diplomas.
  • Women made up almost 71 percent of all applicants as of September 2018.

Both Tennessee Reconnect and Tennessee Promise are programs under the Drive to 55, an initiative spearheaded by Republicans to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. Studies show that by 2025, at least half the jobs in Tennessee will require a college degree or certificate.

By preparing our citizens with the education and training needed to fill the high quality jobs on their way, we are strengthening the foundations of our citizens so they can excel at all levels of their careers.