Thank You Letter to Gov. Haslam

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Dear Gov. Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly,

Five years ago, you altered the trajectory of Tennessee’s future workforce and economic potential with a bold, innovative approach for expanding Tennesseans’ access to higher education. The Drive to 55 – a mission to equip 55 percent of Tennesseans with postsecondary certificates by 2025 – is celebrating its five-year anniversary, and has already had a tremendous impact on thousands of Tennesseans, as well as their employers and communities.

Thank you for believing in young Tennesseans who have the power to keep our state’s economy and quality of life on a path to continued success through the Tennessee Promise scholarship program. The access and mentoring provided by the program are critical – especially for first-generation college students – and make Tennessee a model for how to efficiently expand higher education to all residents.

Thank you for believing in adult learners in Tennessee who make our economy thrive, but often need to level up to advance their careers and to keep our businesses competitive. The Tennessee Reconnect scholarship program will undoubtedly benefit countless Tennesseans who do not already have postsecondary certificates when it launches this fall.

Thank you for believing in a new, flexible approach to higher education that works for Tennesseans who need to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Establishing WGU Tennessee as the Drive to 55’s first-launched initiative has allowed 3,000 Tennesseans to earn degrees, with another 4,100 working toward degrees. WGU’s online, competency-based education model is valued by students and their employers.

Thank you from all Tennesseans who have benefited, and will benefit, from the Drive to 55, and especially those of us who have been personally impacted by WGU Tennessee. Students and alumni, their families and communities, and their colleagues and employers commend you all for working together for the future prosperity of the Volunteer State.

We still have a long way to go to reach the Drive to 55, but we look forward to watching your legacy live on as we continue to make higher education accessible and affordable for all Tennesseans.


Thank you, and cheers to five years!

-The WGU Tennessee Family

(4,100 students, 3,000 graduates, 130 employees, more than 50 corporate and nonprofit partner organizations and all of their families)

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