NASHVILLE, TN – Nonprofit higher education advocacy organization Complete Tennessee today released a report on regional barriers to postsecondary attainment and completion.
The report, which compiles findings from a statewide series of roundtables hosted by the organization earlier this year, identifies four central challenges facing current and prospective postsecondary students:

Access barriers, ranging from inadequate transportation to lack of education options;
Insufficient early postsecondary education and training opportunities;
Limited or inadequate student support services; and
Misalignment between education and workforce.
To read the report, entitled “Room to Grow: Regional Perspectives on Higher Education Improvement,” click here.

“This report shows that the hurdles facing students vary widely by region. However, central themes emerged in our conversations that will guide our work to help communities develop meaningful completion strategies that can support the state’s Drive to 55 goal,” said Complete Tennessee Executive Director Kenyatta Lovett.

“In every region, students were struggling with some kind of access barrier – be it transportation or physical access to postsecondary institutions. For minority, low-income, and first-generation students, more support services are needed to promote access and persistence in postsecondary programs,” Dr. Lovett stated. “Additionally, there is a significant gap between the education and business communities. Not only does this affect high school students’ ability to gain early familiarity with career and postsecondary pathways, it also makes it harder for students of all ages to efficiently earn the credentials necessary to compete for in-demand, local jobs.”

Dr. Lovett continued, “We hope this report will spark additional discussion and collaboration on strategies to address Tennessee’s completion problem – strategies that can be developed alongside and driven by regional stakeholders. Complete Tennessee looks forward to engaging further with community, business and education leaders across Tennessee as we work together to strengthen the state’s higher education system and improve postsecondary access and outcomes for all students.”

To learn more about Complete Tennessee, click here.