While the Tennessee Promise has received much acclaim, the four-year universities back in the Volunteer State have begun to react to the potential ramifications of the focus on community colleges.
One of the universities in the state system — the University of Tennessee at Martin in the rural northwest part of the state — has rolled out the UT Martin Advantage Scholarship and left no ambiguity in the written rationale. Straight from the Scholarship website:
This scholarship was developed in response to the reduction of the Tennessee Lottery Hope Scholarship. As a result of the Tennessee Promise, the Hope Scholarship dropped from $4,000 a year to $3,500 a year for freshmen and sophomores, and we want to give back to those who choose to seek a quality 4-year degree at UT Martin!
The website has multiple references to “the total collegiate experience” and “affordability.” It boasts of “scholarship opportunities comparable to the Tennessee Promise.” Clearly, this 7,000-student branch of the UT system isn’t going to wait to see how the state-wide initiative is going to impact it.