Community colleges offer tuition-free education to all Tennesseans


At Tennessee’s community colleges, a student’s acceptance to college can begin the moment they apply for admission, regardless of academic readiness. A student’s high school grade-point average (GPA) or ACT score does not determine their eligibility for admission at any of Tennessee’s 13 community colleges. A statewide, open-enrollment approach, alongside wraparound student-support services, ensures every student, no matter their test scores, income level, demographic, or circumstance, is provided a fair chance at a college education.

For many students, filling out a college application can bring about apprehension. With no application fee and assistance from admissions counselors at every step, the most crucial step to starting their college journey can be worry-free.

Although no standardized test scores are required for admission, they serve as a helpful tool for academic advisement. New students who have earned a high school diploma or GED/HiSET but do not meet the academic requirements for college-level coursework are placed into learning support classes where they can fulfill the necessary coursework. Through tnAchieves, Tennessee community colleges offer a free, three-week summer program where students can test out of learning support classes before they begin their program of study, making college even more accessible to those who may not have been quite ready academically.

In addition to no ACT or GPA requirements and free application fees, Tennessee community colleges are a sound decision when weighing college options based on cost. Through Tennessee Promise, Tennessee Reconnect, the lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship, and other state and federal financial aid, students can most likely attend community college tuition-free before going into the workforce or continue on to a university to complete a four-year degree.

As Tennessee’s workforce needs continue to evolve, its community colleges ensure programs are aligned with business and industry need, and, due to their ability to quickly adjust programs based on need, they are a flexible and reliable workforce partner. Providing faster access to specialized training in high-demand areas such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and computer technology allows them to supply business and industry with a constant pipeline of skilled workers.

Tennessee’s community colleges are equipping students with specialized skills that meet the demands of not only today’s workforce needs, but those of the future. Through their steadfast focus on dismantling academic, socioeconomic, and financial barriers, Tennessee's community colleges are transforming lives and offering hope to individuals whose potential may have otherwise been overlooked. By championing enrollment accessibility and quality education, they are equipping students with specialized skills that meet both present and future workforce demands, forging a path toward a brighter future.

For more information on Tennessee’s community colleges, visit

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 24 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 120,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.