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Educational partners offer opportunity under one roof

COOKEVILLE — Three educational institutions are now sharing more than a desire to see students achieve their career goals.

They’re sharing a campus — and a promise.

The Cookeville Higher Education Campus, which is set to offer new academic opportunities to Upper Cumberland students this fall — particularly those taking advantage of the new Tennessee Promise scholarship — just celebrated the partnership that made it all possible with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on July 24.

“We’ll be serving three different schools, so that’s really exciting,” said admissions and records officer Brittany Copley, noting the collaborative effort between Nashville State Community College, Volunteer State Community College and Tennessee Tech University to expand their higher education programs.

“We just house those institutions; we don’t actually issue degrees. If a student wants to go to either of those three schools on our campus, they’ll just apply to whichever school they’d like.”

In this endeavor, NSCC, VSCC and TTU will be “sharing the promise,” as the CHEC motto indicates, by helping students take advantage of Tennessee Promise, which offers two years of free tuition to any of the state’s community colleges and colleges of applied technology.

“We already have a great student body,” Copley said, referring to the NSCC students, who, up until the recent CHEC partnership, were the only ones on campus. “But with having two other schools to serve, it’s just going to enrich that community feel. I think it will really diversify their experience here.”

CHEC is designed to make it easier for students to earn a one-year certificate or associate degree from NSCC or VSCC with the option of going on to TTU for a four-year degree. Starting this fall, students can enroll in either community college. TTU classes on the same campus will come next year, Copley said. A dual admissions program in line with TTU is also available.

“Basically, they can be a Nashville State or Vol State student for two years, but they’re conditionally a Tennessee Tech student as well,” Copley said. “So they’ll get the Tennessee Promise... but they’ll also have access to Tech — their advisors, their resources, their library. It’s got a lot of win-win.”

Classes start Aug. 24, so prospective students still have time to register. To learn more, call 931-520-0551, visit cookevillecampus.org or visit the campus at 1000 Neal St.

Copley also noted campus growth so far due to Tennessee Promise: “At one point, we were up seven times the normal amount of applications — which is huge,” she said. “And Tennessee Promise has really made students be proactive. A lot of them have gotten everything in — they’re already registered, raring and ready to go. At this point, we’re hiring instructors because we’ve had classes fill up.”

Becky Hull, CHEC executive director, said during ribbon-cutting festivities on July 24 that the students will be “vital to our success.”

“Everything we do at this campus is for them...” she said. “‘Sharing the Promise’ is our motto here, and it has been so exciting meeting students and their parents as they have come in to take advantage.”

Hull also noted the many recent changes.

“Our name has changed, our motto has changed, our logo has changed, our signage has changed — but our promise to you is that our dedication to the students of this area will not change.”

That goes for Tennessee Promise students as well as non-traditional students and everyone in between.

“Every day we see students come in... and it’s so wonderful to listen to the excitement in their voices as they start this new journey...” Hull said. “We’re just so thankful to get to be a part of that.”

This article was written by Amy Davis, reporter for the Herald Citizen, and published on Aug. 2, 2015.