Tune into "Working together to make college affordable in Tennessee"

At a time when the nation needs more college graduates, many current and prospective students are starting to question whether getting a degree will be worth the time, money, and for so many, the debt.

That’s why WGU Tennessee, UT Martin and the Tennessee Board of Regents are co-hosting “Working Together to Make College Affordable in Tennessee” on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m. CDT. The panel event is hosted in partnership with The USA Today Network in Tennessee, and will be live streamed on the home pages of The Tennessean, The Commercial Appeal, The Knoxville News Sentinel, The Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal and The Jackson Sun.

With more than 75 combined years in higher education, our panelists want to help Tennesseans who are considering enrolling in college by sharing their insights and answering questions.

WGU Tennessee

Bob Collins Bob Collins, VP of Financial Aid at Western Governors University (WGU), oversees its Responsible Borrowing Initiative — a program that has reduced student borrowing by 41 percent in only four years. Collins will help Tennesseans understand how to be responsible borrowers to minimize the amount of debt they incur while earning degrees.

WGU is the parent university of WGU Tennessee — an online, nonprofit college launched by Governor Haslam as part of the Drive to 55. Designed for working adults, the university always has scholarships available for students returning to college to earn bachelor and master degrees. The college has awarded more than $1.3 million in scholarship to Tennesseans since 2013.

Tennessee Board of Regents

Russ Deaton

Dr. Russ Deaton will address issues around Tennessee’s policy innovations designed to create a better-educated workforce, such as the Tennessee Promise and TN Reconnect Act — programs that offer tuition-free community college to all Tennesseans without degrees. Dr. Deaton is the executive chancellor of policy and strategy for the Tennessee Board of Regents, and previously served as director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

UT Martin

Keith Carver Dr. Keith Carver, chancellor of UT Martin and former executive assistant to UT President Joe DiPietro, will share information about what the university and the UT system are doing to increase access to higher education while keeping tuition increases at historic lows.

Tune into the live stream

If you’re considering returning to college, or enrolling for the first time, we hope you’ll tune into the live stream to learn more about what Tennessee higher education officials are doing to make college affordable, and how to ensure that you’re a responsible borrower when taking out loans for tuition and other expenses. The stream will start at 6 p.m. CDT, on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Visit the home page of your local USA Today Network newspaper to view the stream and join the conversation.

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