Adults Apply Now for Tuition-Free College at Vol State

TN Reconnect student Rhonda Eckel plans to transfer and pursue a university degree after graduating from Vol State.

Hundreds of adult students are attending college tuition-free this year with TN Reconnect. Adults who don’t already have a college degree can join them for the upcoming fall semester at Volunteer State Community College. People are encouraged to apply now.

Rhonda Eckel of Hendersonville came to Vol State last fall. “It’s something that has been on my mind for a lot of years,” Eckel said. “I started college, but life happened. I had a family. When Reconnect began it took the financial piece out of the equation and college has gone really, really well. I feel like I have new intellectual horsepower to help me at work and in life.”

“At the beginning I was a little nervous,” said 44-year-old Tracy Lilly of Clarksville. “It was the first time I had set foot in a college classroom in 23 years. It took a week or two, but I settled in, developed a routine, and made friends. My goal is to get a job teaching music in an elementary or high school.”

Vol State has 95 TN Reconnect students eligible to graduate this spring. They are among the first to get degrees with the program. That number is expected to keep growing.

There are three steps needed to start: apply for Reconnect, apply to Vol State, and fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. That can all be done by visiting Once the Vol State application is processed, students will receive the info they need to register for courses. Fall classes start August 26.

Adult students have many considerations, often including how to juggle job and family needs. Vol State advisors can provide tips on managing a college career. In addition to hundreds of traditional classes held at various times and different days of the week, the college offers many online and evening classes that can fit busy schedules. Academic assistance programs can get students up to speed in math and English.

Vol State has more than 100 programs of study to consider. If that seems daunting, advisors can help students with their options by discussing career goals. People are welcome to visit any Vol State campus location for one-on-one help. Those sites include Gallatin, Springfield, Livingston, and Cookeville. For more information call 615-230-3447.

Pictured: TN Reconnect student Rhonda Eckel plans to transfer and pursue a university degree after graduating from Vol State.