Over 570 people have applied for Tennessee Reconnect at Chattanooga State

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – 52-year-old James Fry is a husband, a father, he’s written a children’s book, and he’s also a 4.0 student at Chattanooga State Community College.

“I’ve always been able to say to each of my kids, boy, if I could go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t be a music major, although I love music, I’d want to do something new and so I’m a history major.  I love history,” Fry said.

Fry attended school many years ago as a music major, but had to dropout after his father got sick.

It wasn’t until last spring when his fourth child graduated college that he thought about hitting the books once again.

“I had been at all these graduations, and just extremely proud of them, but somewhere in the back of my mind there was that nagging feeling that I hadn’t graduated from college,” Fry said.

Fry was able to go back to school and attend Chattanooga State tuition-free through the Tennessee Reconnect pilot program.

The program, which will officially launch this Fall, is already having an impact on the community college.

Chattanooga State Adult Services Director Marsha Goolesby-Barker said they’re seeing a very high number of adult students returning to school to complete a degree.

“We’re also seeing a lot of our current students apply for Reconnect, because maybe they’re using student loans and so they’re thinking okay, I can cut back on the amount of student loans and use Tennessee Reconnect, and then also a high number of new adult students,” Goolesby-Barker said.

Statewide, over 10,000 people have applied to Tennessee Reconnect, and at Chattanooga state over 570 people have applied.

There are requirements, but age isn’t one.

However, Goolesby-Barker said most of the Reconnect students are going to be 24 and older.

“We currently have individuals in their 20s through their early 60s, but they do have to be considered an independent student based on FAFSA guidelines. So, you may have a few that are younger than 24 that may qualify,” Goolesby-Barker said.

After watching his own kids get their degree, Fry plans on getting his own soon and going even further to get his bachelors at UTC.

Chattanooga State does hold weekly information sessions on the Tennessee Reconnect program for people interested in applying.

For more information check out, https://www.chattanoogastate.edu/tnreconnect or call 423-697-3346.

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News

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