Student Opportunity Fund


The Student Opportunity Fund was established by Tom and Diane Ballard with support from Marty Adler-Jasny and Norm and Ann Naylor and was part of the 2018-19 Capital Campaign. The Fund is meant to break down the barriers that prevent Pellissippi State students from staying in school and moving forward with their education and graduating.

In a 2017 report entitled, “Making Ends Meet,” by the Center for Community College Engagement, data was collected from almost 100,000 students from 177 community colleges across the nation. A few of the findings included:

  • 47 percent of students say lack of finances is an issue that could cause them to withdraw.
  • Nearly 60 percent would have trouble getting $500 or less (from cash, credit, family/friends) to meet an unexpected need.

Through assistance with textbooks, transportation (fuel and bus passes), childcare, tuition and other emergency assistance, 85% of the students receiving Student Opportunity Fund help have either graduated or are still in school.

“Our Student Opportunity Fund ensures that students do not have to forgo or delay their educational dreams just because they have experienced an unexpected financial setback or are unable to afford their books.” Travis Loveday, Dean of Students at Pellissippi State.

“The assistance I received from the Student Opportunity Fund was the difference between me dropping out of school or graduating.” – Dalyssa

“For many of our students, paying for college is a huge challenge, and sometimes the unexpected happens and their educational plan and dream do not align with life’s current reality. The Student Opportunity Fund has ‘saved’ many students who find themselves in this type of situation and reach out for help.”  Richard Smelser, Director of Financial Aid at Pellissippi State

Since the Student Opportunity Fund’s inception in 2018, 275 students have received assistance totaling more than $103,000!

Pellissippi State Foundation’s 2020 Giving Tuesday theme is “SOS” (Suite of Support) for students. The funds in our Suite of Support are aligned with the College’s focus on holistic student support.
Our four SOS funds have matching gift partners. The Student Opportunity Fund is one of our S.O.S. (Suite of Support) funds. Our matching partner for the Student Opportunity Fund is Regions Bank. Get ready to double your donation! Gifts made between November 16, 2020 – December 1, 2020 will be credited toward the GivingTuesday campaign.

Get ready to double your donation! Be a lifesaver today by giving to the Student Opportunity Fund!