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Roane County Announces 70% College Enrollment Goal

January 31, 2024

Roane County leaders are coming together to support a bold new goal: 70 percent of high school seniors pursuing a meaningful post-secondary pathway by 2025. Currently, Roane County’s college-going rate is at a 10-year low, with 52 percent of public high school graduates attending college immediately after high school. Meaningful post-secondary pathways include enrollment at a Tennessee College of Applied Technology, community college or university or participation in a high-quality apprenticeship!

Roane County Executive Wade Cresswell said, “Roane County has historically been a state leader in the number of high school seniors pursuing college after high school. With incredible opportunities presented by local post-secondary institutions and employment opportunities through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, this goal aligns local leaders behind the idea that a positive post-secondary pathways exists for every Roane County student. As local career pathways become increasingly dependent on post-secondary education and training, it is critical that our students become equipped to support our local economy. I encourage all Roane County seniors to explore the wide range of exceptional post-secondary opportunities our county and region offer.”

Leaders from every sector including government, business, industry, non-profit and education are supporting this new initiative. While organizers are taking a student-focused approach, they say the impact is critical to Roane County’s future.

Local leaders and organizations supporting 70% by 2025 believe:

1. College matters.

2. All students deserve the opportunity to earn a high-quality credential and training after high school.

3. Meaningful post-secondary pathways represent a big tent, meaning four-year, community and technical colleges and high-quality apprenticeships.

tnAchieves President and CEO Krissy DeAlejandro is committed to supporting Roane County leaders as they work to reverse declining college-enrollment rates. “At tnAchieves, we always lead with the student-first approach of meeting every Roane County student where they are at scale,” said DeAlejandro. “While students are always at the forefront of our work, we also know it takes a village to support our local students. We are beyond excited and blown away by the support from every corner of the community.”

Roane County Schools Superintendent Russell Jenkins believes this new goal will provide Roane County graduates with more opportunities leading to economic independence. “Roane County Schools strives to prepare students to become contributing members of our community. Providing access to a meaningful post-secondary pathway is critical to this mission. Research indicates students who attend post-secondary and obtain a credential are more civically engaged, live healthier lives and are more economically stable. We support the goal of 70 percent of our high school graduates pursuing a post-secondary pathway by 2025.”