In 2010, the Tennessee state legislature initiated a series of reform policies for public higher education. The Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010 (CCTA) was designed to improve the state’s economic environment by increasing the share of college-educated citizens. A new value was placed on higher education state funding for student outcomes, shifting from the previous focus on enrollment. These reforms have been further enhanced by Governor Bill Haslam’s Drive-to-55 plan, a goal to have 55% of Tennessee’s population credentialed with a college degree or certificate by the year 2025. The Drive-to-55 Plan has been created to improve the college degree attainment levels of key populations – high school graduates and adult workers, and connect this skilled and educated workforce to the long-term needs of the state’s economic development plan.
The Tennessee Community College System, governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), serves a vital role in carrying out the goals established by the CCTA and Drive-to-55 initiative. Tennessee’s community college system is comprised of 13 institutions, supported by the Office of Community Colleges established in 2011 within the TBR. In collaboration with the system’s institutions, state governing agencies, and offices within the TBR, the Office of Community Colleges has established a portfolio of initiatives focused directly on efficiently improving student retention and success.