College-Going Resources and Links
CollegeforTN.org is the State of Tennessee’s online, one-stop shop for career, high school, college, and financial aid exploration and planning. By creating a free account on CollegeforTN.org, students can create academic plans, take career assessments, explore Tennessee postsecondary institutions, and research financial aid opportunities.
The Next Guides
Designed for high school students across the state of Tennessee, the Next Guides are a resource to help students prepare for what’s “next” after high school graduation. Whether a student plans to enroll in a technical school, community college or university, join the military, or enter the workforce, the Next Guides contain resources that can help make those postsecondary goals a reality.
- Sophomore Next Guide Sophomore Next Guide - Fillable PDF
- Junior Next Guide Junior Next Guide - Fillable PDF
- Senior Next Guide Senior Next Guide - Fillable PDF
Financial Aid Resources
The official website of the FAFSA and the site where you file your FAFSA or your student's FAFSA.
Federal Student Aid is the official financial aid website of the U.S. Department of Education. The site is full of information for educators and students about filing the FAFSA and using federal aid to pay for college.
Federal Student Aid has developed a number of tools and resources for educators, such as school counselors and teachers, to learn about about financial aid and conduct outreach around the financial aid website. All materials and resources on the website are free to use.
CollegePaysTN is the financial aid website for the State of Tennessee. Administered by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation, CollegePaysTN has all of the information you need about Tennessee student aid, including state-based scholarships and grants, such as the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS) and the Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA). You can also find the Tennessee Student Financial Aid Portal through College Pays; the Portal is where you can find personalized information about your or your student's financial aid status for state-based funds, such as the Dual Enrollment Grant, the HOPE scholarship, and Tennessee Promise.
Tennessee Promise is a financial aid program offering Tennessee high school graduates two years of tuition-free community or technical college beginning with the Class of 2015. The program provides eligible students a last-dollar scholarship. While removing students’ financial burden is key, a critical component of Tennessee Promise is the individual guidance each participant will receive from a mentor as the student enters higher education. Local partnering organizations will ensure that all Tennessee Promise students have a mentor.
Tennessee Reconnect is Governor Bill Haslam’s initiative to help adults enter higher education so that they may gain new skills, advance in the workplace, and fulfill lifelong dreams of completing a degree or credential. Through the Tennessee Reconnect grant, adults may attend a Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) free of tuition and mandatory fees.
State of Tennessee Resources
The Drive to 55 is a mission to increase the percentage of working adults with some kind of postsecondary degree or credential from 32 percent at present to 55 percent in the year 2025. The Drive to 55 website includes information on all Drive to 55 initiatives, including Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, and also has information on educational attainment for each county in Tennessee.
Tennessee Transfer Pathways (TTPs) are advising tools designed to help community college students plan for transferring to a Tennessee public university or select regionally accredited, non-profit, Tennessee private colleges and universities to complete their baccalaureate degree. The TTPs also constitute an agreement between community colleges and four-year colleges/universities confirming that community college courses meet major preparation requirements.
As a parent, one of the best things you can do for your children is send them to college. The sooner you start saving for college, the more you can help when the time arrives. TNStars helps give your children the freedom they need to go after their dreams!
Information on Institutions
The University of Tennessee is one of Tennessee's two statewide systems of public higher education. The University of Tennessee has five campuses across the state, including the University of Tennessee- Knoxville, University of Tennessee- Chattanooga, and the University of Tennessee- Martin.
The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) is one of Tennessee's two statewide systems of public higher education. TBR governs 6 four-year universities, 13 community colleges, and 27 colleges of applied technology. TBR also has an online course system, the Regents Online Degree Program (RODP).
Tennessee's Community Colleges are public institutions that offer associate degree programs, which typically take two years to complete. Many also offer certificate programs. There are 13 community colleges across the state with over 480 academic programs. Students can participate in the Tennessee Transfer Pathways program, which will allow students to transfer the credits from an associate degree to a public four-year college and have those credits count toward a bachelor's degree.
The Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) offer training to help you develop skills that are in demand in the workforce. Students often can complete these programs within four months to two years. Graduates of these programs can receive either a certificate that documents their knowledge or skills in a particular area or they can receive a diploma from the institution. The TCATs offer both full-time day enrollment or evening enrollment and the TCATs offer 60 occupational programs statewide.
The Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) works collaboratively with Tennessee's private colleges and universities in areas of public policy, cost containment, and professional development to better serve the state and its citizens. TICUA's 34 member colleges and universities educate nearly 80,000 students from across the state, country, and throughout the world and confer nearly 19,000 degrees a year.