FREE College In Tennessee? The Tennessee Promise: Separating FACT From FICTION

You’ve probably heard your friends or maybe your parents say the words “Free College.” Almost instantly, you start thinking of the souped-up car you can get or the whole new wardrobe you can buy now that your college will be 100% free! Forget Ramen Noodles, you can now afford lobster tails and caviar (yuck).

tennessee promise scholarship facts

Hold on… not so fast. Have you heard of the saying, “Nothing in life is free?” That saying applies perfectly to “free” college.

That’s because there are restrictions regarding free college in Tennessee. Plus, before you can enroll without paying tuition, you must meet multiple requirements. So, is the Tennessee Promise a good deal for Tennesseans? Absolutely–especially if it meets your definition of college. But, before you leave your wallet at home, check out our MYTHS and FACTS regarding free college under the Tennessee Promise Scholarship.


MYTH: “I can use the Tennessee Promise Scholarship to get a 4-year degree!” 

FACT: Tennessee Promise can help you earn your Associates Degree (2-year degree). After those two years, if you wish to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree, you will need a student loan, additional scholarships or other means to cover your tuition.


MYTH: “I can go to ANY college or university in Tennessee for free!” 

FACT: The Tennessee Promise Scholarship applies to 2-year community colleges.


MYTH: “I won’t need any other grant money to start college!” 

FACT: The Tennessee Promise requires students to use ALL of their Pell Grant and State Grant money BEFORE applying the Tennessee Promise Scholarship money to cover any tuition gap remaining.


MYTH: “I won’t have to pay ANYTHING for college!” 

FACT: The Tennessee Promise Scholarship covers tuition and limited fees. You are required to pay for housing, food, transportation, books, equipment and other college expenses. These costs can still be quite high and may require a student loan.

So, just to recap, while the Tennessee Promise Scholarship is great, it has a number of restrictions, including:

  • Applies to 2-year community colleges
  • It only covers tuition AFTER your Pell Grant and State Grant money
  • It only covers tuition and limited fees. You will have to pay out of pocket for all other college-related expenses.
  • Nossi created an interactive quiz to see if the TN Promise is right for you! Take it to find out more.

If you are still interested in starting college for free with the funds in the Tennessee Promise Scholarship, please realize that it’s not as simple as filling out an online form and waiting for hundred dollar bills to fall out of the sky. Remember, nothing in life is truly free. In this case, it will require quite a bit of your time and community service hours.

Ready to learn how Nossi College can help you make the most of your Tennessee Promise Scholarship?