NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The University of Tennessee Interim President has announced the creation of “UT Promise,” a financial aid program that will provide free tuition to qualifying Tennessee residents enrolling at any of University of Tennessee's three campuses.
Interim President Randy Boyd says, UT promise is a last-dollar scholarship program that will guarantee free tuition and fees for students with a family household income of under $50,000 and after other financial aid is received such as Pell grants.
"I didn't know if I wanted to go to college but since it was free I might as well, it's free," said Brian Maza.
Maza is studying cyber defense at Nashville State Community College. He says at one point he didn't think the college life was for him until he found out he could go for free.
"I just took the safe route so it's very assuring to know that there's a program out there that has your back," Maza said.
Maza was able to attend Nashville State tuition free thanks to the Tennessee Promise scholarship.
"I have FAFSA which pays for most of my tuition and Tennessee promise is a last dollar scholarship, so it will pay off whatever is left," Maza said.
Tennessee promise can be used at the state's 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or other eligible institutions offering an associate degree program, but now the University of Tennessee is offereing a similar version for students wanting to get a bachelors degree.
Students must qualify for the Hope Scholarship and meet the academic qualifications for the institution to be eligible for this new scholarship. To help ensure success, students will be matched with volunteer mentors and will complete four hours of service learning each semester.
"I wasn't too sure what I would do after community college so now that I hear about that, it's very interesting, I'll consider it," said Maza.
The announcement was made at the annual State of UT Address held at the Nashville Public Library.
University of Tennessee campuses are located in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin.