Caribbean scholars soon to be Big Blue Tigers through grant initiative

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Graduating high school students from the Caribbean will soon experience the excellence of Tennessee State University. Over 200 applicants from the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and other Caribbean nations have applied to become Big Blue Tigers with the help of an International Tuition Assistance Grant (ITAG).

Dr. Arlene Nicholas-Phillips
Dr. Arlene Nicholas-Phillips

Currently, TSU’s student body is made up of individuals from roughly 34 countries. However, a minimal amount come from the Caribbean. To qualify for this ITAG, high school graduates must have a minimum 3.25 grade point average.

“As liaison on Global Initiatives at TSU, part of my responsibility is to build global partnerships and to recruit global scholars,” says Dr. Arlene Nicholas-Phillips, who represents the Office of the President for the ITAG initiative. “This is an opportunity to open our doors to Caribbean students who bring the tenacity to learn and the academic acumen to boost everything that TSU represents.”

Jaden Daniel, of Trinidad and Tobago, is one of the Caribbean scholars coming to TSU in the fall. 

“I’m extremely excited and grateful to join the TSU family,” said Daniel, who is hoping to also make the men’s basketball team. “This opportunity offers a chance to get a higher education, while also allowing me to learn a new culture. These experiences will help me grow in important aspects of my life, such as being a professional and a holistic individual.”

Gregory Daniel, Jaden’s father, says he’s also looking forward to his son attending TSU, and the opportunities he will have.

Jaden Daniel and his father, Gregory Daniel
Jaden Daniel (left) and his father, Gregory Daniel

“Jaden has made his first steps in becoming a true global citizen with opportunities to develop his God-given talents; opportunities to learn in an environment that develops all aspects of his being,” his father says. “And most of all, the opportunity to showcase the quality of the Caribbean student, with a view of opening the doors of TSU to other students of the Caribbean who may be considering this same route to educational excellence.”

Parent Donna Frederick agrees. Her son, Renard Frederick, also from Trinidad and Tobago, will be joining Jaden in the fall.

“The tuition grant offered by Tennessee State University provides an opportunity for students from Trinidad and Tobago, and other Caribbean countries, to explore learning, achieve growth and development, and realize their academic pursuits in another country,” she says. “For this, I am truly thankful.”

Nicholas-Phillips says students also have the option of online learning if they wish to stay in their country. Also, the program is open to nontraditional Caribbean students, and there are talks of a dual enrollment program for high school students.

TSU Officials talk to prospective Caribbean students via Zoom

“We plan to extend this strategic search and continue to expand the internationalization of our campus,” says Nicholas-Phillips. “With the support of Dr. Johnnie Smith (Dual Enrollment), Dr. Robbie Melton (Graduate School), Dr. Jewell Winn (Office of International Affairs) and Mr. Terrence Izzard (Enrollment Management), I am confident that we will meet and surpass the directives given by (TSU) President (Glenda) Glover on international recruiting.”

Dr. Winn points out that International student enrollment has decreased over the last two years due to myriad factors, such as the pandemic and challenging immigration practices.

“Thus, to launch an initiative focused on recruiting a diverse population of international students is timely and certainly aligns with our goal of helping all students become better global citizens,” says Winn, executive director for International Programs and chief diversity officer at TSU.  

Besides the ITAG initiative, the University currently has dual enrollment partnerships for underserved students in several African countrieswhere students are taking online courses in coding and creating concepts taught by TSU professors. The program is part of a STEM literacy partnership with the African Methodist Episcopal Church that gives students digital resources to develop their technology skills. All participating students receive an iPad, supplied by Apple, Inc.

For more information about the ITAG initiative, visit

To learn more about TSU’s partnership with Africa, visit

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