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Inspiring Adults to Start and Finish College Launched in Fall 2018, the Tennessee Reconnect last-dollar scholarship provides tuition-free community college or technical college for independent adults who do not already have a college degree. The program has brought many students back to higher education, such as James Fry, who graduated from Chattanooga State with a 4.0 GPA in May 2018, and is now enrolled at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga where he is the UTC Retirees Association firstever scholarship recipient.
Thirty-five years ago, I enrolled in college, but my father’s illness and other responsibilities were too much of a barrier, so I left school and never imagined returning. At my children’s graduations, I said, “if I could do it all over again, I would...,” and after attending the fourth and last graduation ceremony of my youngest daughter, I returned to college at the age of 51. With my family’s support, I began a life-changing journey that led to a renewed sense of purpose and pride. I worried if I could be a good student after so many years. I quickly discovered that Chattanooga State staff members are truly dedicated to the success of every student. The wraparound support of the Adult Services Center, tutors, Financial Aid and Admissions counselors and an excellent teaching staff, encouraged me to do my best.
–James Fry 2019 Community College Student of the Year
James Fry, center, works with students in the Innovations Lab at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.