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Frequently Asked Questions

Check out these Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about the Tennessee Volunteer Challenge Academy! 

  • Who is eligible to attend TNVCA?    Applicants must be academically at-risk, a high school dropout, or have been expelled. Applicants must be between 16-18 years old by the start of the academy's academic cycle. Additionally, the applicant must have never been convicted of a felony and have no legal action pending, be willing to become/stay drug & tobacco free, and physically and mentally able to complete the program.
  • Where is the program located?  Students will live on campus for the duration of the 5.5 month residential phase. Our address is 3965 Stewarts Lane, Nashville, TN 37218.
  • When does the next class start?  There are two classes held per year; January and July.
  • How much does it cost to attend?  Our program is FREE to attend; however, there are minimal costs associated with the initial packing list. The Department of Defense (DoD) and State of Georgia split the $22,000 cost-per-cadet through a 75%/25% arrangement between the Federal and State governments. Your tax dollars support our program!
  • Is this a boot camp or treatment facility?  No. The TN Volunteer Challenge Academy is an alternative education program that uses the military-model to shape its values and discipline structure. Additionally, TNVCA is not a therapeutic environment or a clinical treatment facility but rather a residential program run by the Tennessee National Guard that provides a second chance to young people who want to change their lives.
  • Can I force my child to attend this program?  No. This program is 100% voluntary. No parent, court, judge or probation officer can force the child to attend TNVCA. The decision to attend must be made by the child and his/her parents or guardian.
  • Can my child be expelled from or quit this program?   Yes, although we do have a disciplinary system that is able to resolve the majority of minor infractions, cadets can be expelled if they do not cooperate with academy rules. Cadets who no longer wish to participate voluntarily may request to quit the academy. Parents/Guardians and staff members are notified to determine why the cadet wishes to quit. Staff will conduct a process of interviews, and if no solution can be reached to change the cadet's mind, then the cadet will be granted a withdrawal from the academy. On a case by case basis, a cadet who withdrawals from one of our academies, but wishes to try again, may reapply to attend a future class cycle. Note: the cadet must still be between the ages of 16-18 to reapply.
  • Is this a path for my child to join the military?   Yes. Those cadets who express an interest in joining the military will have the opportunity to learn more about the various military branches and speak with local area military recruiters. Only about 7% of our program graduates enter the military. All cadets are required to take the ASVAB (military entrance exam) as part of their Job Skills core component. There is NO military service obligation after attending our program.
  • Can my child earn their HiSET or High School Diploma?  Yes. Cadets will attend a series of academic classes designed to improve their math, history, science and language arts levels. Many of our cadets are able to obtain their HiSET (also known as the GED) during the 5 1/2-month Residential Phase, but is not required to graduate from our program. For those cadets who wish to continue working toward their High School diploma, TNVCA is a state of Tennessee accredited high school. Eligible and qualified cadets can obtain their high school diploma or earn high school credit that they can transfer back to their previous high school. This is a great way for cadets to return back to their previous high school and become academically aligned with their classmates. 
  • Will I be able to visit or communicate with my child?  Visitation is not authorized until the scheduled Family Day, which takes place about seven weeks after the enrollment date. Cadets will visit home for an extended holiday break during either Easter or Thanksgiving. Parents/Guardians are able to communicate with their child through letters. After the first two weeks, cadets will be able to make phone calls once a week. Phone privileges are only granted to those cadets who are compliant with the academy rules and leadership.
  • Will my child be drug tested?  Yes. All cadets will be periodically drug tested while attending Tennessee Volunteer Challenge Academy. TNVCA is a tobacco and alcohol free program.

    Still have questions about our program? Submit a request for more information here or call 629-888-5855 to speak with a program recruiter.