Tennessee is the first state to offer free community college. Lawmakers gave green light to the legislation that’s created to expand the Tennessee Promise program that started off in 2014. The program will also offer opportunities to adults who don’t have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
Governor Bill Haslam proposed the legislation as a way to increase number of citizens with college education to 55% by 2025. In his area, less than 39% of all residents had a college degree.
In order to give his people a job, the governor made sure they are ready to have one. According to him, this is a smart investment.
The program includes individuals who are state residents for at least a year before applying, maintain a 2.0 GPA, are free to have enough classes to be a part-time students and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
This expansion costs about $10 million, and it will be funded by Tennessee’s lottery account.
Students will be able to save $3,700 a year, and that’s the average cost of tuition and fees at Tennessee’s 13 colleges. If they get a need-based Pell Grant from the federal government, the state will cover the remaining cost.
Oregon offers free community college to recent high school grads and GED recipients. San Francisco has similar plans. New York and Rhode Island are expected to make a move in this aspect.
More than 33,000 students are given benefits from the Tennessee Promise program in the first couple of years.