Experts answer your questions on Tennessee Promise, FAFSA

Megan Sadler, left, and best friend Jerica Bryant plan to go to nursing school together in the Tennessee Promise program. Nashville State Community College on Saturday hosted students and their parents who need to fill out the FAFSA before the upcoming Tennessee Promise deadline.

The Tennessean, Adam Tamburin

On Tuesday, The Tennessean gave readers the chance to ask two experts questions about the Tennessee Promise program and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Higher education reporter Adam Tamburin moderated a Twitter chat with Mike Krause, executive director of Tennessee Promise, and Josh Moran, director of financial aid at Nashville State Community College.

A transcript of the chat is included below. Some answers have been edited or modified for clarity.

Q: My son is in community college. How can he take advantage of Tennessee Promise?

Mike Krause: If you’re already enrolled in college, the Tennessee Promise window has passed. BUT there is an array of financial aid resources at community colleges. Josh can explain.

Josh Moran: Complete the FAFSA! There are many existing federal and state programs. The FAFSA application will be the first step for many of those programs. Contact your college’s financial aid office for help.

Q: Where do I go to get help with my FAFSA now?

Krause: GREAT question: Call our hotline at 1-800-342-1663. Remember Tennessee Promise deadline for FAFSA is Sunday!

Moran: You can also get help from a nearby community college. Find out more online at

Q: What do I need to have when I fill out my FAFSA?

Moran: Tax documents and your federal student aid PIN. (Get one online at

Q: When does my child need to apply for school if he has Tennessee Promise?

Krause: Tennessee Promise students need to apply to college NOW. The sooner you apply, the sooner you can complete the admissions process.

Q: My child is going to school tuition-free on Tennessee Promise, but I want to go too. Are there any options for me?

Krause: The great news is Gov. Bill Haslam announced Tennessee Reconnect (Monday) night. Adults can attend a Tennessee College of Applied Technology tuition-free this fall. Haslam also launched a pilot program for adults to attend community college tuition-free.

Moran: Complete the FAFSA to get access to existing state and federal programs. Many community colleges have separate aid programs specifically for adult students.

Q: When my child goes to school, Tennessee Promise will pay his tuition. What about books and other expenses?

Krause: Books and other costs can be a significant expense, but we hope that with the full focus being there (rather than paying tuition as well), students find those costs much less daunting. We also know that institutions will have resources that previously went to tuition costs that could now be applied for book scholarships.

Q: What should Tennessee Promise students be doing over the summer before they arrive on campus?

Krause: Enroll in Tennessee Promise’s summer bridge program to address any remedial needs early and adjust to college life.

Q: Is Tennessee Promise limited only to community colleges and technical schools?

Krause: Tennessee Promise can be used at select four-year schools for associate programs. But that option isn’t tuition-free. Students get the same award amount they’d receive at a community college.

Reach Adam Tamburin at 615-726-5986 and on Twitter @tamburintweets.

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