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Pellissippi State Technical Community College saw its enrollment for students 17 years old and younger jump significantly in Fall 2006.

The big reason: dual enrollment, which allows high school juniors and seniors to earn dual credit for high school and college course work.
Pellissippi State Technical Community College saw its enrollment for students 17 years old and younger jump significantly in Fall 2006.

The big reason: dual enrollment, which allows high school juniors and seniors to earn dual credit for high school and college course work.

College officials attribute the increase to program expansion at area high schools and the availability of funding through the Tennessee Dual Enrollment Grant, which is funded by the Tennessee Education Lottery. High school students get $300 a semester and $600 an academic year, enough to cover nearly all the cost for a year of freshman English composition.

Pellissippi's enrollment statistics show an increase from 131 students 17 years old and younger in Fall 2005 to 333 for Fall 2006. (Knoxville News Sentinel, Jan. 22, 2007)

In response to a shortage of nurse faculty in Tennessee that is forcing schools to turn away prospective nursing students, Gov. Bredesen and state health care officials kicked off a statewide campaign to raise funds for a scholarship program that would help current registered nurses (R.N.s) pay the costs of earning graduate teaching degrees in nursing.

The Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program - which the governor signed into law in 2006 - would direct $1.4 million to pay for 100 R.N.s to return to school beginning in Fall 2007 and would send up to 100 R.N.s back to school for graduate studies each subsequent year.

Under the scholarship program, nurses who earn their graduate degrees are expected to teach undergraduate nursing studies for four years. For every year a graduate of the program teaches in a Tennessee nursing school, 25 percent of the loan will be forgiven.

The Tennessee Center for Nursing, which provided research to support the legislation, estimates that 383 nurse faculty positions will be needed by 2010 to supplement current teaching shortages and expected faculty retirements. (Chattanooga Times Free Press, Jan. 23, 2007)

A standing-room-only crowd recently attended a grand opening of the $5.5 million, 23,717-square foot addition to the Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building.

“This building will allow us to accomplish many things for people who are ill and need a nurse,” MTSU School of Nursing Director Lynn Parsons said to the audience that included state legislators, community leaders, alumni and MTSU students, faculty, staff and administrators.

Parsons said up to 66 students in the general program and an additional 150 annually in an accelerated L.P.N. to B.S.N. program can benefit from five clinical laboratories (health assessment, two large medical/surgical labs with critical care and triage beds, an obstetrics lab and a computer simulation lab).

All of the classrooms and the clinical labs have multimedia capability, she added. (Murfreesboro Post, Jan. 21, 2007)

The Tennessee Lottery marked its third anniversary recently by announcing it has generated $778 million for education.

After the state legislature reconvenes early next month, it will debate whether to spend some of the $315 million in education reserve funds to expand the scholarships -- by increasing the grants or lowering the academic eligibility standards. Lawmakers will also consider earmarking some for public K-12 school construction, another use allowed by the 2002 state constitutional amendment that allowed the lottery's creation. (The Commercial Appeal, Jan. 23, 2007)