Vicki ClarkFollow




Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Kendrick W Brunson


College Choice, Free Tuition, Human Capital Theory, Millennials, Social Capital Theory, Tennessee Promise


Advertising and Promotion Management | Business | Business Administration, Management, and Operations | E-Commerce | Education | Finance and Financial Management | Higher Education | Other Business


In 2014, Tennessee’s governor, Bill Haslam, introduced Tennessee Promise - legislation that enabled Tennessee high school and home school graduates to attend two years of tuition-free higher education at qualifying institutions. In the fall of 2015, Tennessee’s four-year colleges and universities experienced a significant decline in freshman enrollment. This quantitative descriptive study uses the theories of human capital, social capital, and marketing service theory to examine the impact of free tuition on the college choice. Four hundred twelve Tennessee Promise students answered survey questions, demonstrating the impact of Tennessee Promise funds on their decision to attend college and on the ultimate college choice. The resulting analysis is a definition of the existing Promise recipients by gender, race, household income, and parental level of education among other attributes. It provides four-year college recruiters a target profile for the students who enroll in college due to Tennessee Promise and for those who changed their college choice in order to use the free tuition that Tennessee Promise offers. This may enable recruiters to better reach their target market in order to reverse the trend of declining freshman enrollment. Free tuition through Tennessee Promise offers all high school and home school graduates, including those who may not have the means or the confidence, an opportunity to enroll in college. Tennessee Promise is giving its students the opportunity to seek wisdom in an effort to combat poverty and joblessness.