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Tuesday October 15, 2019

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TN Reconnect Students Look to Sophomore Year
July 11, 2019

The first class to benefit from Tennessee Reconnect is ready for its sophomore year. Thousands of adult learners took advantage of the state grant, which pays tuition for qualified students attending a community college. 
Student Jessica Quinton knew she would take of Tennessee Reconnect as soon as she heard about it. Like many adult learners, Quinton wanted to go to college, but other things got in the way – including a battle with cancer.
“As soon as I heard about Tennessee Reconnect, I knew this was my chance to go to college,” said Quinton, an elementary education major. Quinton is receiving some funds from Tennessee and some funds from a Pell Grant to pay her tuition.
To determine Tennessee Reconnect eligibility, students must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Pell Grant is one of many awards determined by the FAFSA. Students must be a Tennessee resident for one year, participate in a college success program, and enroll in at least six hours leading to a certificate or associate degree. Students are ineligible if they have already earned a degree.
“I never thought I would qualify for a Pell Grant, so I never applied.,” Quinton said.
“Coming to college at this age has worked for me. I had time to find my true calling, being a teacher. I want to create classrooms where all students feel welcome,” she said.
Quinton understands that coming back to college can be a bit intimidating, but she encourages other adult learners to put any fears aside.
“I did not hesitate and there’s no reason for anyone to hesitate. If you need help in class, the professors are always willing to help. Plus, there are so many things at Walters State to help. Younger classmates accept you and sometimes even need your help,” Quinton said.
Quinton encourages adult learners to get involved on campus. She has traveled to Nashville with the Student Tennessee Education Association. She also takes advantage of any workshops offered by Walters State. Last summer, the knowledge gained from an Adult Learner workshop allowed her to skip learning support and enroll directly in college classes.
For more information about Tennessee Reconnect, contact Erin Dean at 423-585-2654 or the Student Success Advising Center at 423-318-2337. You can also visit this page: https://ws.edu/financial-aid/types/scholarships/tn-reconnect/.  

In the photo: Jessica Quinton is fulfilling her dream of becoming a teacher with help from the Tennessee Reconnect program. Quinton is an elementary education major at Walters State.