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Helping Students Earn Advanced Degrees with Nashville GRAD

CitiesNashvilleHelping Students Earn Advanced Degrees with Nashville GRAD

Bloomberg Associates worked with the City of Nashville to help in the Mayor’s commitment to ensuring more Nashvillians can pursue a path toward economic prosperity by obtaining post-secondary school education.


Nashville GRAD marks an incredibly important step toward closing equity gaps in our city, increasing economic opportunity, and investing in our workforce through access to quality education.

David Briley, Former Mayor of Nashville

Relevant Expertise

Expand Workforce and Learning Opportunities

  • Job Training and Skills Development
  • Youth Career Preparedness

Modernize Municipal Systems and Processes

  • Private Partner and Sponsor Models

Support Marginalized and Vulnerable Populations

  • Criminal and Social Justice Insights


Research shows that individuals who earn an associate’s degree earn nearly one-third more over their lifetime compared with those with just a high school diploma. It is estimated that by 2020, 60 percent of jobs in Nashville will require some post-secondary education and training, but many barriers exist that prevent recent high school graduates and adults from advancing their degrees and pursuing post-secondary education.


Modeled after the highly successful evidence-based program Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) at the City University of New York (CUNY), the City of Nashville, with guidance from Bloomberg Associates, launched Nashville GRAD (Getting Results with Advanced Degrees) in December of 2018. In partnership with Nashville State Community College (NSCC) and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Nashville, Nashville GRAD complements the State of Tennessee’s programs for tuition-free college, Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, by removing other financial barriers beyond tuition. Financial assistance covers expenses such as textbooks, transportation, childcare, tools and supplies, and industry certification fees. Nashville GRAD also connects students with intensive academic and professional supports, such as academic and career advising, course scheduling, and leadership development activities.


Nashville GRAD will increase the number of students successfully graduating from NSCC in three years to at least 50 percent and increase TCAT industry certifications to 66 percent by 2023. The program serves more than 3,000 students each year, and in July of 2019 Mayor Briley announced that a total of $450,000 in private sector donations was given to the scholarship program to date, beating the program’s original fundraising goal of $300,000.


$2.5M commitment from Nashville to build GRAD starting in 2020

$1M approved and allocated in 2019 budget

$700K raised in private grants in 2019

1500 anticipated number of students served each year

33% increased lifetime wages of an individual who earns an associate degree vs. just a high school diploma