By Lucas Johnson

NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University is making college more affordable for high school and community college graduates looking to major in food and agricultural sciences.  The College of Agriculture will use its portion of a $14 million federal grant to provide full and partial scholarships to undergraduate students.

The funding is made possible through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s 1890 Scholarship Program, authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. 

TSU President Glenda Glover says the University is extremely pleased to receive this funding that comes at a critical time for students.  

“Many students and their families have incurred additional expenses because of COVID-19, and this funding will allow us to retain and bring academically talented students to the university to be a part of our outstanding agriculture programs,” says President Glover. 

“We are thankful to Congress for providing funding to TSU, and particularly Congressman David Scott, the 1890 scholarship bill sponsor; the Tennessee Congressional Delegation, and U.S. Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue for making this happen.” 

TSU’s portion of the funding is approximately $752,000. Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, says this will fund full-ride scholarships for at least 20 freshmen and community college graduates per year for the next four years. 

“Food supply and security are major concerns for our nation right now, and the College of Agriculture has nationally recognized programs, and now these scholarship dollars help students wanting to pursue degrees in these areas,” says Dr. Reddy.  

“We are excited about this opportunity to recruit and fund outstanding young people in agriculture.” 

Senior Kristin Day, a USDA 1890 Scholar, says more than anything the scholarship provides students financial relief so they can focus on completing their degree.

“It helps relieve the burden of funding for college, and gives you an opportunity to just focus on your school work and developing your passion,” says Day, an agricultural sciences major from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “It’s a great program that students need to take advantage of.”

Jonathan Alford, an agricultural sciences major and also an USDA 1890 Scholar at TSU, agrees. 

“The scholarship not only allows students to enhance their skills and learn new things about agriculture, but get an even better understanding of why it’s needed in the world,” says Alford, a junior from Nashville. 

Dr. De’Etra Young is interim associate dean of academics and land-grant programs in TSU’s College of Agriculture. She says the scholarships help create a pipeline of outstanding workers for the global workforce.

“Our scholarship program seeks to encourage students to pursue and complete baccalaureate degrees in the food and agricultural sciences and related fields,” says Young. “This will lead to a highly-skilled food and agricultural systems workforce.” 

Undergraduate students, with the required GPA, must pursue degrees in the following areas: Agribusiness, Agriculture Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC), Biotechnology, Environmental Sciences, Food and Animal Sciences, and Food and Nutritional Sciences (Dietetics).

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit