Haslam Announces Drive to 55 Capacity Fund Grants

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the recipients of the Drive to 55 Capacity Fund, an initiative designed to support colleges and universities as enrollment increases since the launch of Tennessee Promise.

“Tennessee has seen unprecedented numbers of students enrolling in college for the first time. As Tennessee Promise has made college a reality for so many of our students, we are committed to providing our institutions with the resources to support them,” Haslam said. “The Drive to 55 Capacity Fund assists our campuses in getting these students to and through college so we can continue to close the skills gap in Tennessee’s workforce.”

The fund awarded a total of $24.3 million to ten colleges and universities. The projects funded include a new TCAT training facility in Anderson County through the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Knoxville, an advanced robotics training facility for Motlow State Community College, and an expansion of the nursing program at Dyersburg State Community College.

First-time freshman enrollment at Tennessee’s colleges and universities grew by 10 percent in 2015, including a 25 percent increase at community colleges and a 20 percent increase at TCATs. Tennessee also saw a historic year-over-year growth in the state’s college-going rate in 2015, increasing 4.6 percentage points in just one year. 

“As we have expanded access to higher education through the Drive to 55, it is crucial that we ensure colleges and universities have the resources to prepare students for the workforce,” Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, said. “The process of awarding these funds was very competitive and each funded program will provide opportunity and growth to students across our state.”

A total of 44 proposals were submitted, requesting a combined $120.9 million for construction or renovation or for program expansion. All projects seeking funding were required to demonstrate need for building capacity to respond to student enrollment and statewide workforce demands.

Proposals were reviewed by a team of readers from across state government, including the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and the University of Tennessee system. Based on reader scores and final approval from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, projects were selected for funding. -

See more at: https://www.tn.gov/governor/news/46814#sthash.D2ZAikcX.dpuf