Murfreesboro Resident Surprised With $10,000 Scholarship From WGU Tennessee


WGU Tennessee – a nonprofit, online university – surprised Murfreesboro resident Mandy Heasley with a $10,000 scholarship as part of the Tenn-K Scholarship campaign, which will cover roughly two-thirds of her degree program.

Heasley learned that she had been awarded the Tenn-K Scholarship during a surprise Zoom call with Kim Estep, vice president, Southeast Region, Western Governors University.

“This past year has been extremely challenging for Mandy and her family. We’re pleased to acknowledge her hard work and provide her a Tenn-K Scholarship as she begins her degree program,” Estep said. “Mandy is dedicated to teaching the next generation, and we’re honored to help her progress toward her goals.”

Heasley was working as a library educational assistant at Brown’s Chapel Elementary School in Murfreesboro when she was assigned a Response to Intervention (RTI) group of students who needed extra support. She loved the experience working one-on-one with students and was interested in finding a teaching licensure degree program.

However, she had to put her dreams on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic and her husband’s malignant brain tumor diagnosis. Her husband went through two separate surgeries, and at this time he is blind and will likely not be able to work again. Heasley realized that the best way to support her family financially would be to pursue a degree program.

“After my husband’s diagnosis and treatment, I quickly realized that our family was moving from two incomes to one. My career dreams became more of a necessity to support my family,” Heasley said. “This past year has taught me that everything happens for a reason, and being awarded this Tenn-K Scholarship will be a huge financial relief as I begin my degree program in May.”

Once Heasley earns her Master of Arts in Teaching, Special Education degree, she hopes to work with RTI students of all ages at Brown’s Chapel Elementary School.

Heasley is one of up to 10 Tennesseans who will earn WGU Tennessee’s 2021 Tenn-K Scholarship. The scholarship – which will cover up to 75% of WGU Tennessee’s already-low tuition of around $3,500 per term for most degree programs – is awarded based on students’ academic records, readiness for online study, and demonstrated financial need. For those interested in learning more, please visit The deadline to apply is April 30, 2021.

About WGU Tennessee

WGU Tennessee is an online, nonprofit, competency-based university established to expand Tennesseans’ access to higher education throughout the state. Formed through a partnership between the state of Tennessee and nationally recognized Western Governors University, WGU Tennessee is open to all qualified Tennessee residents. The university offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the high-demand career fields of business, K–12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing.

For more information, visit the WGU Tennessee website,, or call 855-948-8495.

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