- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam has announced the launch of a $2.4 million program that will provide college counselors to 30 public high schools across the state.

The aim of Advise TN is to realize the state’s goal to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree to 55 percent by 2025, the governor’s office said in a statement last Thursday.

“Research tells us that having a school-wide culture … of students knowing that college isn’t only an option for them but it’s an expectation - is one of the best indicators of whether students will pursue higher education,” Haslam said in the statement. “This program will provide schools across the state with one more adult in students’ lives, focused on helping them navigate the transition from high school to college.”

Counselors will be hired and trained in the summer and will work with about 10,000 juniors and seniors statewide. They will help students prepare for the ACT, work on college applications and take advantage of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid program offered by the U.S. Department of Education.

To be eligible, high schools must have average college-going rates that fall below the state average. Public high schools must apply to participate and will be selected by the Tennessee Higher Education Committee based on their commitment to creating a college-going culture.

Advise TN was included in Haslam’s 2016-17 budget with funding of $2.5 million. High schools selected to participate in Advise TN are expected to develop plans to continue the program after state funding has ended.

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