Tennessee became the first state in the US to offer free community college for adults without a degree under the signed measure that was put forward by Republican Governor Bill Haslam.
This legislation is expanded on a previous law that was passed in 2014 when the state started offering high school graduates a two year tuition-free technical or community college.
According to a statement by Haslam, if they want to have jobs for Tennesseans, they need to ensure that the citizens are ready and there is no better investment that easing the access to quality education.
Free Education Idea Keeps Expanding
The concept for a free college has gained a lot of popularity across the US in the recent years.
Hence, Minnesota and Oregon also offer free community college programs for new graduates. San Francisco has also said they plan on doing the same. Furthermore, in New York, families who make less than $125,000 can access tuition Free State schools.
The new program of Tennessee will help pay remainder tuition costs after accounting for state and federal grants and scholarships. The amount of the tuition is around $4,000 per year at the 13 community colleges in the state.
According to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the share of the state of the estimated $11.2 million yearly cost will be funded by lottery proceeds.
By the year of 2014, the Tennessee Promise program has helped 33,081 students to enroll at community colleges which led to 30 percent increase in full-time students. Around 63 percent re-enrolled the next year.
The measure known as Tennessee Reconnect is designed to help meet the state’s goal of increasing the number of residents with post-secondary degree to 55 percent by the year of 2025.
Studies indicate that individuals with degrees earn more on a yearly basis and their risk of unemployment is lower.
In order to be a part of the Tennessee program, students need to have been a state resident for at least 12 months, to not have a degree, to have a 2.0 GPA, to fill out a federal student aid application, and to enroll in sufficient classes to be part-time students.