Poor in the Era of Promise: An Examination of the Experiences of Low-Income Community College Students in Tennessee
Despite increases in access to postsecondary education, addressing gaps in outcomes across socioeconomic groups remains challenging. Even if more lower income students are entering postsecondary institutions today than in the past, inequalities in persistence mean they are less likely to complete a degree than higher income peers. Complex social, financial, and academic factors can influence low-income students’ persistence in college, creating multiple barriers to completing a credential. This study focuses on the persistence of low-income community college students in Tennessee. Using a mixed-methods approach, we specifically aim to shed light on the experiences of low-income community college students within the policy context of Tennessee, a state that has invested substantially in higher education. We believe that studying the experiences of low-income students within the particularly prominent policy context of Tennessee could have value for others considering or implementing promise programs and related strategies.