Tennessee is the first state in the United States to offer free community college. Lawmakers gave a green light to the legislation that is created to make the Tennessee Promise program bigger, which started back in 2014. The program is also going to help adults and give them opportunities, adults who don’t have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
Governor Bill Haslam is proposing this legislation as a way to elevate the number of people in the state with a college education to 55% by 2025. Because in this state less than 39% had a college degree.
The governor had to make sure that the people had a degree they must be prepared for a job, in order to get one. And he said that this is a very smart investment.
The program is including people who are residents of the state for at least one year before they apply, maintain a 2.0 GPA, free enough to have classes in order to be a part-time students and also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
This expansion is worth more than $10 million, and it is funded by the Tennessee’s lottery account. Students are going to save around $3,700 every year, which is the average cost of fees and tuition at Tennessee’s 13 colleges. If they receive a need-based Pell Grant from the federal government, the state is going to cover the rest of the cost.
Oregon is offering free community college to recent high school grads and GED recipients. San Francisco has very similar plans as well. Rhode Island and New York are also expected to take a step in the same way.
In fact, more than 33,000 students will have benefits from the Tennessee Promise program in the first few years.