Tuition-Free College at Vol State with TN Reconnect

Vol State student studies

Adult students often have to scrimp and save to afford college tuition. Now, with the tuition-free TN Reconnect program, a college education is much more obtainable.

“I was paying for classes with my tip money from work,” said Caitlin Springer of Goodlettsville. “Once Reconnect came through, I was ready and able to take more classes. It’s been great.”

Springer is finishing her Health Sciences general education requirements and plans to apply to the Vol State R.N. Nursing A.A.S. program. “When I started I thought I wasn’t that smart and that school wasn’t my thing. This experience has changed me. And I know everyone here from the cafeteria to the library.”

TN Reconnect is available for adults who have not already completed a college degree. Students can start from the beginning or continue with their education, if they already have college credits. Adult students have many considerations, often including how to juggle school, job, and family needs. Vol State advisors can provide tips on managing a college career. There is also an adult student peer mentor program.

“We picked mentors who have families and are facing adult student challenges,” said Pam Carey, manager of Adult Learners and Veterans Affairs. “It helps to have someone that new students can reach out to who has been through what they are going through.”

There are three steps needed to start: fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form, apply for Reconnect, and apply to Vol State. 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. Students can take classes during the summer or start attending in the fall. Summer will classes will be held entirely online this year. 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 contact any Vol State campus for one-on-one help. While the campus locations are closed, staff are working online to assist students. Those sites include Gallatin, Springfield, Livingston, and Cookeville. For a list of contacts visit the front page story at