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Education Commissioner: Building Bridge Key to Student Success

Knoxville News-Sentinel (05/19/14) Boehnke, Megan

During the Education Writer's Association national seminar at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said it is the State Education Department's job to leverage the bridge created by the Tennessee Promise program to help high school students navigate the period between graduation and college. "Right now kids leave high school and they may or may not go to post-secondary (schools) and there's not a deliberate bridge between the two," he said. "There's a huge opportunity now with Tennessee Promise - it's an enormous opportunity, the idea that community college will be free for kids - but it's not going to happen just because it exists. You have to actually take some steps to build the bridge and that's something we're going to spend the summer and fall thinking a lot about." Students need to understand what their options are, where they can apply, how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and how to connect to mentors with the Tennessee Promise program, Huffman said. He also wants to make sure students are tracked during their first year of community college and that high schools feel accountable for kids completing some level of post-secondary education.
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