Tennessee Reconnect Sends Adults to TCATs for Free!



(Ed. Note: UPDATE: For fall 2015, the TN Reconnect grant for a free tuition may be applied ONLY to Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT). The TN Reconnect program covers more schools, but the grant is only currently available for TCAT. TCAT has programs in automotive technology, aircraft mechanics, cosmetology, graphics design, electronics, masonry, truck driving, welding, and many more.

Any questions about the program or the grant may be directed to Graduate Memphis, who will answer any and all questions about the application process and all the alternatives for funding an education and becoming successful in post secondary education. Some edits have been made below.)

At Graduate Memphis, it’s our mission to make adults aware of their options for returning to school. We’re not the only organization in town committed to this cause and want to make our followers and students aware of partner organizations that also offer great services to the Memphis area’s future graduates. Recently, we’ve been in contact with the folks over at Tennessee Reconnect.

If you’re interested in learning more about the program outlined below, Graduate Memphis is holding weekly workshops for adults to come by and sign up for TN Reconnect! Each Wednesday in the month of April, swing by our College Resource Center at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, located at 3030 Poplar Ave. You can come by at any time, but advisors will be on hand specifically for TN Reconnect from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. You can utilize our computers and internet access and the advisors can assist you in filling out the grant form, as well as register you for our other FREE services! You can learn more about TCAT here.


What is Tennessee Reconnect?  It’s a program that is designed to help busy adults achieve their dreams of post-secondary attainment, whether it be a college degree or a certificate. TN Reconnect uses many of the same methods that Graduate Memphis employs. They’ll assess adults’ prior learning (PLA) to determine what learning experiences or classes in the adult’s past can be used toward college credit (this can include job experience or former college credits and classes, among other things). They’ll utilize a keen knowledge of financial aid to help adults figure out how to pay for their education (be it via grants, scholarships, or federal loans). Finally, they’ll provide options. Community schools, technical programs, vocational colleges, and universities are all viable options. They also use Tennessee Transfer Pathways, which is the understanding that credits earned at two-year schools will transfer to four-year schools.

TN Reconnect works primarily with three different types of educational institutions:

  • Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT), of which there are 27 in Tennessee. They post an 85% graduation rate.
  • two-year colleges, of which there are 13 in Tennessee. Oftentimes, a degree earned at a community college guarantees a student automatic admission into an area four-year university.
  • four-year colleges and universities, of which there are 10 public and 34 private in Tennessee.

TN Reconnect also offers the Tennessee Reconnect grant. This is a last dollar scholarship that covers tuition and mandatory fees for TCATs. What this means is that, once a student is accepted to a TCAT and has exhausted all state and federal loan options, the TN Reconnect grant kicks in to cover any remaining expenses for the student, guaranteeing them a free education. The deadline is May 15 for fall admission. Fill out the form here!

Speaking of financial aid, what are additional options? TN Reconnect offers information on several. You can check out Tennessee College Pays, as well as filling out a FAFSA (deadline for those who are applying for the TN Reconnect grant is no later than June 15). Many employers also offer tuition reimbursement for their employees. As an adult learner, you can also take advantage of tax breaks by writing off your education expenses.

While many of the services that Tennessee Reconnect and Graduate Memphis are similar, we strive to work together to fill in all the gaps for one another! All of our services are free, we both have people on hand to assist you navigating the process of returning to school, and both of us are active participants of Drive to 55. Graduate Memphis is a comprehensive service, which means that in addition to helping you get enrolled, we can continue to offer outside counseling services throughout your educational experience. We will continue to discuss your scholarship options at the start of each semester and assist you in any financial literacy matters. We offer free workshops for adult learners to supplement what they learn in the classroom. The workshops cover topics like MS Office, APA Formatting and Research, and Algebra.

We look forward to connecting with additional educational partners around the Memphis area and invite you to visit us or call to learn more about our services, as well as those of Tennessee Reconnect. Call us at (901) 415 – 2774 to learn more!