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About Us

The Tennessee Postsecondary Evaluation and Analysis Research Lab (TN-PEARL) is a joint effort by the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC).

Established in 2017, the TN-PEARL collaboration reflects the state’s commitment to creating and using research evidence to inform and guide its higher education policy dialogue and decision making. Many of Tennessee’s new higher education initiatives—such as universal mentoring and financial aid for two-year college students in Tennessee Promise and Reconnect—were without precedent. Tennessee continues to be active in creating student-centric scholarship programs to boost participation in higher education and foster student success. Yet given the novelty of these initiatives, Tennessee policy makers must work with limited guidance from relevant research to make decisions. The TN-PEARL collaboration intends to build up this base of research to inform policy and practice across Tennessee and the U.S.

Meet the Team



Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research

The Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research is a nonpartisan research hub within the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The center conducts research on national and state economic trends for UT, state agencies and public and private organizations. It also analyzes and disseminates data on the demography and economy of Tennessee in conjunction with the Tennessee State Data Center.

Its mission is to research and inform conversations around the key public policy issues of the day. The Boyd Center faculty engages in important academic research across a wide range of public policy projects, including education, health, e-commerce, taxation, welfare and labor.



Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development

Peabody College is a world-class college of education and human development. Our mission is to enhance the human condition, with a particular focus on children’s learning and development through the preparation of teachers and leaders; cycles of research, implementation, and refinement; service to families, schools, and communities; and external engagement with professionals, leaders, and policy-makers. Peabody’s focus on learning differences has helped to define the college, as has a reputation for empirical rigor in educational neuroscience; child, family, and community development; special education; the learning sciences; and educational leadership and policy. Peabody is devoted to creating opportunity in an increasingly diverse society and to solving large societal problems.



Tennesse Higher Education Commission

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission and Student Assistance Corporation is relentlessly focused on increasing the number of Tennesseans with a post secondary credential. We pursue this goal by innovating for student access and success, creating a policy environment conducive to increased degree attainment, and protecting students and consumers.