Corporate partnership growth gives more local employees affordable degree options from Tusculum University

Four people standing together on a sidewalk in front of a building

GREENEVILLE – Tusculum University continues to enhance its relationships with the East Tennessee business community through corporate partnerships that provide tuition reductions for employees of these companies.

Four people standing together on a sidewalk in front of a building
Representatives of Tusculum University and Apex Bank celebrate the corporate partnership agreement they signed. Left to right are Jana Riddle, director of undergraduate admission; Dr. Ramona Williams, vice president of enrollment management and financial aid; Dr. Jacob Fait, dean of the College of Business; and Tammy Kinser, Apex’s Greene County market president.

In recent weeks, financial institutions such as Apex Bank, First Community Bank and Community Credit Union, as well as General Morgan Inn and Artazn, have signed partnership agreements with Tusculum. Tusculum has now established 17 of these agreements with companies, and others are pending.

The agreement provides for a reduction in tuition for employees of these companies who pursue one of the several bachelor’s and master’s degrees available through the partnership.

“One of the many ways Tusculum successfully serves our region is to assist companies and employees with their education needs,” said Dr. Ramona Williams, vice president of enrollment management and financial aid. “With the convenience of online studies available to employees, who can complete coursework when they are not working, we are empowering them to further develop their knowledge so they can achieve additional success. The expansion of this program demonstrates the value of a Tusculum education.”

Through the agreement, company employees are able to receive the tuition reduction for the following academic degrees.

Dr. Jacob Fait, dean of Tusculum’s College of Business, started the corporate partnership initiative and onboarded several companies. Responsibility for the partnerships has transitioned to admission, but Dr. Fait continues to assist by helping line up partners.

“A well-educated workforce is essential to securing a successful economy,” Dr. Fait said. “Tusculum is committed to helping companies and their employees develop skills and knowledge that maximize performance and strengthen the bottom line. We are pleased to be a resource that contributes to the growth of East Tennessee and a positive business climate.”

Among the benefits associated with the partnership for employees are professional development, stronger work skills, career advancement opportunities and an ability to expand their educational background. Studying at Tusculum will enable them to have an active and experiential education that broadens their academic potential and personal goals.

For example, Pioneer MBA students will participate in a comprehensive business project as part of their studies, and those who enroll in the Master of Arts in organizational training and performance management will have a capstone project. Employees who choose one of the other available programs will receive an educational experience that will prepare them to be civically engaged and career-ready professionals.

Companies benefit from employee participation by seeing improved staff development, which leads to further organizational growth. Tammy Kinser, Apex’s Greene County market president, said the corporate partnership strengthens the relationship between the university and her financial institution.

“Apex Bank is a major supporter of education, and this opportunity to partner with Tusculum University and to offer our team members such great benefits is a true win/win for everyone involved,” Kinser said. “This partnership enables our team members here at Apex to have the opportunity to work with an academic adviser, improve career opportunities within the bank and broaden their academic goals.”

Employers interested in pursuing a corporate partnership should contact Dawn Bridwell, assistant vice president of admissions, at or Jana Riddle, director of undergraduate admission, at