TN Reconnect and COVID-19
Utilizing narrative inquiry and thematic analysis, this study followed up with adult students who initially participated in a qualitative project, Understanding How Students Reconnect: A Longitudinal Study (Collom et al., 2021). Five participants shared their experiences as adult students during COVID-19, which included their experiences shifting to virtual learning and the broader effects of the pandemic on their lives. Our findings indicated that while students coped with the transition to virtual learning, the overall perceived quality of education dropped and forced students to make difficult family and employment decisions. Overall, the study illuminated the barriers that exist for adult students who have faced unexpected life-events and demonstrated the need for institutions to build supports for adult students beyond tuition-free college. Our findings highlight the need for supports above tuition for Tennessee Reconnect students. While Tennessee Reconnect has substantially increased adult student enrollment in the state, increased support is essential to realize the full benefits of the policy.
Collom, Gresham Donald and Cooper, Ashton Ryan
"Tuition-Free College in the Context of COVID-19: TN Reconnect Adult Student Narratives,"
Journal of Student Financial Aid: Vol. 51
, Article 2.
Available at: https://ir.library.louisville.edu/jsfa/vol51/iss1/2