CHATTANOOGA,TN, (WDEF)-With just over 10,000 students Chattanooga State attracts high school graduates and mature students from across the Tennessee Valley.
Not all of them can afford to pay for tuition up front.
Eva Lewis, Associate Vice President,"A lot of challenges and a lot of needs, if this would make it easier we would be happier, but if it doesn't we will continue to get scholarships and grants and financial aid to keep the loan volume down"
Lewis says education is key to boosting the Volunteer State's economy.
"If someone can get higher education I think it's important whether it's through a community college, a university or a technology center, we know that most of the jobs in the future will require some college degree"
Governor Haslam's Tennessee Promise has been on the minds of students on campus for a number of months now.
"College kids we don't have much money, we usually rely on grants and scholarships and stuff, if Tennessee can come through with this college thing it would give everyone the opportunity to come to college"
"Its an opportunity because for people who dream about what they want to do, say well I cant do it because I don't have enough money"
Others say the value of community college cannot be underestimated.
"Decided to come here instead of going to university to figure out what I wanted to do and I know if I had went to university, I would have wasted a lot of money and time cause I have already changed my major while I was here"
There are more than a dozen 2 year institutions in Tennessee from Memphis to Morristown.