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How it Started

Equal Chance for Education was founded on January 15, 2014 as a Tennessee Nonprofit organization by Michael Spalding M. D. after he saw a personal friend denied the opportunity for higher education because of her legal status. Melissa has lived in Nashville since she was 8 months old and successfully completed high school with outstanding academic records. After talking with her family about her situation, Dr. Spalding went to Nashville State, the local community college, to offer to pay for her first-year tuition. Upon telling the admissions counselor her name the tuition immediately jumped from $7000 for 2 years to $ 28,000. Upon researching further, Dr. Spalding realized that Melissa didn’t qualify for any sort of financial aid or student loans. She was denied in-state tuition to Tennessee universities and colleges even though Tennessee is the only home she has ever known.

Dr. Spalding instead offered to support Melissa at Lipscomb University where she received merit based scholarships. Melissa’s story inspired Dr. Spalding to initiate the steps in founding Equal Chance for Education to support more students in her same situation. Melissa graduated Cum Laude in 2018 and is now teaching in the special education classroom at her alma mater, Hillwood high school.

Equal Chance for Education has supported 486 Tennessee students at 20 colleges and universities. In the fall of 2021, 97 new students enrolled with ECE as freshmen. The Alumni Association now includes 131 graduates who are improving our communities through their contributions as young leaders.

Equal Chance for Education has supported 386 Tennessee students at 15 colleges and universities. In the fall of 2021, 97 new students will join as freshmen. The Alumni Association now includes 131 graduates who are improving our communities through their contributions as young leaders.

Changing Lives

ECE believes that every Tennessee student deserves an equal chance to go to college- no matter where they were born.
ECE believes that every Tennessee student deserves an equal chance to go to college- no matter where they were born.
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