Sevier County Partners in Progress Education Program

DSC_0275Sevierville, TN – Sevier County announced today the new Sevier County Partners in Progress Education Program and a new partnership between the Sevier County School System, Walters State Community College (WSCC), East Tennessee State University (ETSU), and Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT). This education program is designed to provide better access for our citizens to earn associate degrees at WSCC, TCAT certifications and diplomas, and 4-year degrees from ETSU. Beginning in the fall of 2016, this program will better prepare our students to enter the workforce upon graduation. Dr. Brian Noland, President of ETSU, stated, “ETSU has partnered with the leaders of Sevier County for the past several years to expand educational opportunities to the residents of this region, and this fall, we will move the needle even further through the opening of our ETSU at Sevierville center. Through partnerships like this, we are helping more people realize their greatest dreams.”

DSC_0273The Partners in Progress program began in 2002 as a last dollar scholarship for students who graduated from a Sevier County secondary school and who planned to attend WSCC. Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters stated, “The cities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and the county of Sevier provided over $1.2 million in scholarships and helped over 1,500 students achieve the goal of postsecondary education. Because the Tennessee Promise Scholarship is now paying for tuition to Walters State, the Partners in Progress Program is shifting dollars into a new education program. Sevier County and the three cities have understood the importance of education and have invested over $1 million dollars to provide scholarships to our students at the freshman and sophomore college levels.” Dr. Wade McCamey, President of Walters State Community College added “Those involved in establishing and leading Partners in Progress have led the state in expanding access to college for all high school graduates. Sevier County students and Walters State Community College were the recipients of this foresight more than a decade before Tennessee Promise became a reality.”

“We are grateful to the governmental entities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Sevier County for their willingness to support higher education in such a visionary manner” continued Dr. McCamey.

DSC_0276“The city of Sevierville and Sevier County saw a huge educational opportunity for the use of the former Mountain National Bank building and decided to purchase it in hopes of attracting a 4-year college and TCAT to our community,” said Sevierville Mayor Bryan Atchley. Atchley continued, “This 45,000 square foot building, with very little renovation, will be perfect for ETSU to offer 4-year degree programs.” Also within the same building, TCAT will provide various diplomas and certification programs. Jerry Patton, Director of Morristown TCAT, further clarified, “By combining the expertise of three Tennessee Board of Regents’ institutions, Sevier County is making history in offering an unparalleled variety of opportunities to its current high school graduates.”

Working in conjunction with the Sevier County School System, WSCC, and ETSU, we have developed an opportunity for our high school students to graduate from ETSU with a four-year degree in 3 years. Our new Partners in Progress Education Program will provide scholarship dollars, along with the Hope scholarship and scholarship dollars from the Sevier County School System, to pay for tuition of up to 8 dual enrollment classes taught by WSCC. “Sevier County students have had the opportunity of taking dual enrollment classes for many years and this new program will allow even more students to participate,” said Dr. Jack Parton, Sevier County Schools Superintendent. “The partnership between these great institutions will helps us better prepare our students for post-secondary education and to enter the workforce” continued Dr. Parton. Students completing 8 dual enrollment classes upon graduation from high school could enter WSCC as a sophomore, leaving only 3 years until they could graduate from ETSU.

Tennessee Promise will pick up the tuition costs for WSCC. Upon graduation from WSCC, a student will have access of up to $2,000 per semester from the Partners in Progress Scholarship for up to 4 semesters at the Sevier County campus of ETSU. With the scholarships from the Sevier County School System, Tennessee Promise, Hope Scholarship, institutional scholarships and the Partners in Progress scholarships, a Sevier County student will have the opportunity to graduate with a 4-year degree from ETSU with little or no tuition cost. Students will pay for books and various other fees required by the colleges.

ETSU will offer the following degrees in Sevier County beginning in the fall of 2016:

  • B.B.A. in Business Management
  • B.B.A. in Marketing Management
  • B.S. in Early Childhood Education
  • B.S. in K-6 Education
  • B.S. in Special Education
  • B.S. in Psychology
  • B.S. in Human Services
  • B.S. in Social Work
  • RN-BSN in Nursing
  • B.S. in Radiography
  • B.A.S. – Bachelor in Applied Science

A synopsis of the general requirements for a Sevier County student to be eligible for this program are:

  • Must be a resident of Sevier County
  • Must graduate from a Sevier County High School and have attended a Sevier County High School their entire senior year
  • Must be academically eligible to be admitted to the various schools
  • Must be a full-time student as defined by each institution
  • Must graduate from WSCC or have enough hours from WSCC to be considered a junior at ETSU
  • Must make satisfactory progress as defined by each institution
  • Must maintain Hope Scholarship eligibility

To simplify the registration process for dual enrollment, admission into WSCC, TCAT, and ETSU, Sevier County is developing a website which will be a one-stop resource for all things college. This website will provide a step by step registration process for the program to guide parents and students from dual enrollment in high school through graduation at ETSU, thus removing the mystery and confusion from college registration. The website,, is currently under construction and should be completed in late spring.

Students and parents in Sevier County who have specific questions about this program should contact their high school guidance counselor or visit to submit questions.