Monday, February 8, 2016

A Big Push for Adult Students

There is a statewide push to get more adult students into Tennessee colleges and universities. It's called Tennessee Reconnect. The first portion is focusing on adults with previous college credit who may be interested in coming back to college to get their degree or certificate.

If you get any phone calls or interested students, they can contact the new Office of Veterans Affairs and Adult Learners at 615-230-3494.

Here is our news release:

Vol State Helps Adults Reconnect with College

Adults with college credits are encouraged to go back to school under a statewide initiative called Tennessee Reconnect. Volunteer State Community College has new resources to help adult students as part of that program.

“The message is simple: you can do this and we can help,” said Ken Hanson, the newly appointed director of Veterans Affairs and Adult Learners. “We’re talking about anyone who has been out of school for a year or more and would like to return. And it’s not just people with college credits; we’re reaching out to everyone who wants to get a college degree. The stats show the truth- you can earn more and advance in the workplace with a college degree.”

Tennessee Reconnect is part of Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative. The goal is to have 55 percent of Tennessee adults equipped with a college degree or certificate by 2025. Vol State is engaging current adult students to help people considering college see that it is possible to get a degree, despite all of the challenges adults face. Gaynell Payne is a student writer who is chronicling her life as an adult student on a new adult student blog at Vol State.

“Balancing my time is the most challenging part as a student,” Payne said. “I have to prioritize. Even with deadlines for class, I need to make sure my child’s needs are met, both emotionally and physically. I’ll be sharing some of those experiences.”

“Adult students need flexibility in taking classes, and we have that with many online courses, evening courses and a variety of degree options. But those students also need support. We pride ourselves in having a welcoming environment on all of our campuses for adult students. There is often concern when someone is considering college. They worry about having enough time to study while juggling work and family. They’re frightened by the prospect of taking a math class after many years. We’re set up to help you with all of that at Vol State. That’s what my office does for veterans and other adult learners- we show them how they can create their own individual path for success.”

“It’s a lot different coming to school as an older student than it is someone coming straight out of high school,” said Payne. “It was tough at first, but I think I found that balance by the end of the semester.”

The Tennessee Reconnect program has some financial aid available for adult students. It’s important for students to fill out the financial aid paperwork now to get in line for the available grants, scholarships and loans. The first step is to visit the Vol State adult learner web page at That page also links to the new adult student blog and other Vol State resources for adult learners. For more information people can also call the Office of Veterans Affairs and Adult Learners at 615-230-3494.

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