Even When College Is Free, It Can Be Hard For Adults To Stay In School
Support for NPR and the following message come from Dulles International Airport with the highest on time takeoff percentage of any airport on the east coast. I a d means I'm already departing more at fly Dulles dot com slash fast. We're going to stay in Tennessee. Now, where if you are older than twenty five, and you don't have a college degree. You can now go to community college for free more than thirteen thousand adults enrolled in the program last fall that exceeded the expectations of state officials. Now, the question is whether waving their tuition will be enough to keep these students in school, Emily sign. A reports from member station W P L N Nath videos, are not what Jim Baker used to watch on his Friday evenings say that to a bag through ten five is a factor of ten. But now he says he's actually enjoying this is great. You know? Learn stuff that. Not saying they didn't teach it. I'm just saying that I didn't pick up on. Jim is sixty six and a school custodian go into college wasn't on his radar until his son-in-law signed up for Tennessee reconnect free tuition at community. College guaranteed. So Jim's wife, Kim bear started looking into enrolling advance tier state community college too. And then we saw the AllState head some like meet and greet sore, you know, informational sessions came recruited their daughter to come with. And Jim said, well, I'll take a long sure we'll go get dinner bit by that long. I wanted to go back to school. And that is how came Jim their daughter anther son-in-law all ended up rolling in community college for free with no two ish in taking the plunge seemed remarkably easy doing the schoolwork though was not for the bears. It's meant staying up late after Kim's twelve or fourteen hour days as a paralegal, and we had to get in the routine, we had to understand that you come home from work, you grab a sandwich, and you sit down and do the work, and that's really that and pizza, and I'm really tired of pizza came in. Jim kept each other on track. But further daughter and son-in-law the commitment was overwhelming. He traveled often for work. She was home schooling their children by mid semester. They had both dropped out staying in college. As an adult is notoriously difficult in Tennessee among those who start community college less than one in three will get a degree. They're having this wonderful opportunity to come back to school, but life is different as an adult. Amy Hoffman works with adult students that volunteer state community college where the bear started school. Her rule is park guidance counselor parts sympathetic listener, she was hired to help support adults in the Tennessee recap program whenever we can make a connection with them. And they feel like we relate. Then they know that, hey, these are people who are really going to hopefully, help me get through this. Help me reach my goals, getting rid of tuition payments, seems to be helping some schools are already seeing an increase in retention rates under the program, but there are still plenty of additional stressors for. Colts. They have not been in possibly in the learning atmosphere for ten years. Eight years, maybe twenty the technology is different everything is so different. Plus their textbooks to pay for and childcare to navigate balancing school, the family and work. What is the difference between the students who make it in the students who don't they may have moments of feeling overwhelmed by it all and want to give up, but they somehow choose not to that's been true of Thirty-one-year-old Megan Roberts, at least this time around she first gave college try four years ago. Then her special needs child got sick. And she dropped out fast forward a few years. And I seriously was at work one day. And I just looked up in everyone around me was really stressed. Everybody around me looked pretty miserable. And I decided, yeah, I'm gonna go back to college. This time Roberts came back with renewed determination and decided to focus on studying her passion history. And arkie algae. She also got hired as a student ambassador giving tours and working events for the school in exchange. Allstate pays all her expenses, including textbooks that's been a game changer and even still she's gotten shingles pneumonia, she even broker finger. I mean every semester his head something insane. But she feels more supported this time. And she's been able to tap into her own internal drive that grit. She's now a few months away from graduating the question for Tennessee reconnect is how many other adults will be so lucky for NPR news. I'm only signer in Nashville.