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The new Knox Promise initiative announced last week will provide additional financial and coaching support to help students succeed in college, and UT’s Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research will study the effects of the new pilot program.

The Boyd Center—housed in the Haslam College of Business—is partnering with tnAchieves, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, Pellissippi State Community College, and the Haslam Family Foundation to determine the impact of foundation president Jim Haslam’s $6.2 million donation to start the pilot program. The Boyd Center will determine what aspects of this initiative work and whether changes need to be made to the program.

“Our research will help identify the dramatic innovations in Knox Promise and ensure those lessons are relayed to policy and academic communities across the country,” Boyd Center Director Bill Fox said.

The Knox Promise will be available for 2019 and 2020 high school graduates who also qualify for Tennessee Promise, a last-dollar scholarship that makes community college free in Tennessee. The new program also will provide a textbook stipend, an emergency fund to help cover unexpected financial burdens, a dedicated tnAchieves completion coach, and a summer support program to help improve student retention after freshman year.


Erin Hatfield, Boyd Center (, 865-974-6086)