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Community colleges prepare for TN Reconnect influx

Photo: FOX 17 News

Money is often the top barrier standing between students wanting to further their education, but thanks to Tennessee Reconnect, adults who want to go to college don't have to fit the bill. The program offers a full scholarship.

“I had no idea what I wanted to do," Megan Roberts, a first semester Tennessee Reconnect student, said. "It was just so expensive to pay for classes.”

Roberts is a wife, mom of a special needs child and a first semester student at Volunteer State Community College in the Tennessee Reconnect program. She’s also pretty lucky. Only 1,500 Reconnect students got accepted at Vol State this fall before classes were full.

“In Reconnect, I don’t have to worry about a part time job on the side. I don’t have to worry about juggling a job and two kids and school,” said Roberts.

Vol State does have to worry about juggling the extra students this fall and the hundreds more coming in the spring.

“This office was really busy,” said Pam Carey, manager of the Vol State Adult Learning and Veterans Affairs Office.

Carey says advisers are working around the clock to gear up for the spring. She says the phone in the Reconnect office never stops ringing.

“There was a survey to ask do you want weekends, online, nights and the majority was online, so they did increase the online offerings,” added Carey.

Vol State also added extra night classes and faculty. The school will soon add an extra worker in the adult learning center to help new adult students with the transition.

And Vol State is not alone, Nashville State Community College recorded the highest Reconnect enrollment in the state with more than 3,500 students this fall. They added nearly 20 extra positions and expanded online classes. Even with all of the additions, not everyone will be accepted for the spring semester. Classes will fill quickly so a little advice from Roberts.

“I would say not to be completely discouraged or feel crushed that you didn’t get into Reconenct now, just keep fighting for it. Keep perusing your goals because at the end of the day it’ll be worth it,” said Roberts.

Spring registration begins Nov. 6 at Vol State.

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