The Nashville State Community College Foundation, in conjunction with the college, is implementing an adult scholarship program that began in the fall of 2014. The program provides last dollar funding for working adults in the form of tuition reimbursements and scholarships for those students achieving defined completion goals.
Initially, the program will target adult STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and culinary students. This program would align with both Nashville Achieves as well as the Governor’s “Drive to 55” program – an initiative to have the best trained workforce in America. Existing shortages of qualified applicants in the technology and hospitality industries in Middle Tennessee require an investment that will increase the talent pool.
At Nashville State Community College, 52% of our students are over the age of 25 and are responsible for 74% of our student loans. The targeted population will be those students with a family adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less who are currently unemployed or underemployed. The student must be enrolled in one of Nashville State’s 33 STEM related degree programs or the Culinary Arts program and graduate within 5 years of beginning the program. Based on a review of our current student enrollment, we anticipate 375 students would be eligible to enroll in this program beginning in the fall of 2014 at an annual cost of approximately $500,000. The Nashville State Foundation will provide $250,000 each year with Nashville State Community College providing $250,000 annually for the first three years.
The scholarship program will require students to complete an application and enroll in the program in order to ensure adequate funding and allow the foundation to effectively track student progress. Scholarship program criteria include:
- Must be 25 years of age or older as of date of enrollment in the program
- Must be classified by NSCC as an in-state student
- Must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have a family adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less
- Student must have a current degree plan on file
- Students must maintain an overall 2.75 GPA at Nashville State and be in good academic standing, meet satisfactory academic progress standards as measured for federal Title IV Programs, and make satisfactory progress towards a degree
- May attend full-time or part-time but pass a minimum of 6 hours each semester
- Tuition and fees paid will be paid only for courses passed in Fall and Spring semesters
- Maximum award is an amount equal to the semester costs of tuition and fees based on 15 credit hours of enrollment and will be paid for a maximum of sixty credit hours
- Students who are accepted into the program and fail to complete 12 semester hours per academic year for any two academic years will no longer be eligible to reenter the program (Note: A student may withdraw their application prior to the first day of classes without it counting as a failure to complete)
- Students may be admitted during the Spring semester based on available funding but must pass 12 hours in the Spring semester in order to be eligible for reimbursement
- A student will be eligible for the program until they have earned an associate’s degree or within 5 years of enrollment in the program, whichever occurs first
The scholarship is a last dollar program that pays after any other financial aid, scholarships, or tuition discounts have been applied. Students will receive funding based on the following schedule:
- First 24 hours completed – Tuition and fees will be reimbursed. (Note: Payments will be made based on passing a minimum of 12 semester hours. For example, if a student completes 12 semester hours in the fall semester, tuition and fees will be reimbursed at the end of the fall semester. However, if a student only passes 6 semester hours in the fall, the student must pass 6 hours in the spring semester and the student will be reimbursed for all hours passed at the end of the spring semester.)
- Final 36 hours – Tuition and fees will be paid in advance in the form of a scholarship
A final key component of the adult scholarship program centers on ensuring that students receive the support necessary to be successful. The Nashville State Foundation is partnering with the Middle Tennessee Workforce Investment Board and the Oasis Center and will offer a mentoring component to the program at both the White Bridge Road and Southeast campuses. This will afford students the opportunity to engage on-site staff for assistance in numerous areas including enrollment and advising, effective study habits, time management, and other issues that would serve as potential barriers to completion.