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State just made it really hard NOT to go to college

Tenn. To Offer Free Tuition At Community Colleges

The state of Tennessee is making it very difficult for students to decide not to go to college. And it's probably not for the reason you're thinking. HLN reports:

"Tennessee high school grads, listen up, are soon going to be able to attend community college for free. Lawmakers have approved a bill that will pay all tuition and fees for two years."

Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us. Especially when you consider the fact that College Board found in 2013 the average cost of a two-year degree at an in-state school costs more than $10,000 per year. On average, it costs students about $18,000 per year for a four-year degree at an in-state school.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam laid out a proposal for this program back in February when he gave his State of the State address.

The Washington Post reported at the time, Haslam said the government would set aside $300 million from the state's lottery fund to help cover the costs.

WKRN notes that the governor's plan to take money away from the lottery fund will mean the Hope Scholarships, which are funded from that lottery reserve, will be cut from $4,000 to $3,500 for freshman and sophomores at four-year universities.

At the same time, Tennessee plans to increase the scholarship for juniors and seniors from $4,000 to $5,000.

This college tuition program is a large part of Haslam's "Drive to 55" initiative, which The Tennessean describes as an "initiative aimed at increasing the number of college graduates from 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025."

The program, now called The Tennessee Promise, mandates all recipients meet five requirements.

First, they must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. They must work with an assigned mentor and attend a college orientation. Students are also required to maintain their grades and finally, perform one day of community service each semester.

Cleveland.com notes Oregon and Mississippi have also discussed the idea of offering students two free years of community college, but Tennessee is the first state to adopt the proposal.

The Tennessee Promise program will take effect in fall 2015. The state is expecting 25,000 students to apply.

Join the discussion

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pj512 April 18 2014 at 9:54 AM

The Georgia Lottery did a similar thing. The original GPA requirement was 3.0. Then the "smart" brains stepped in and said that tradespeople may not be capable of scoring a 3.0 GPA and the really "smart" people didn't want to be an electrician or plumber. So they lowered the required GPA to 2.0. You more than likely won't make a million dollars being a plumber, electrician or hairdresser, but you will probably have a steady job and make a decent salary. And be a lot happier. All states need to encourage students to do this.

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d1anaw April 18 2014 at 9:27 AM

It's amazing how many people are slamming higher education. No wonder the intellectual level in the country is going down. And no wonder people cannot get better than minimum wage jobs. They don't want to do anything to prepare themselves for higher paying jobs, they just want to be handed more money for doing the same thing or less. Unbelievable. Entitlement mentality runs rampant. Good job TN. At least some of your younger people can get a clue now.

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1 reply
mickylitz2 d1anaw April 18 2014 at 9:39 AM

Big difference between a good education and indoctrination....

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tbplayer44 April 18 2014 at 8:44 AM

Free education from a Republican must be driving the Liberals crazy...

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1 reply
mickylitz2 tbplayer44 April 18 2014 at 9:01 AM

I am a republican and nothing is ever free.........................

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2 replies
Bob mickylitz2 April 18 2014 at 9:10 AM

This is pretty close to free. It's lottery money.

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mickylitz2 mickylitz2 April 18 2014 at 9:26 AM

Bob ..
They will always come up with an argument for why they need more money, the educational system is a money pit.
You can pay filet mignon price for it and they still will produce cheap hamburger product until discipline and moral values are reinstated into the system.

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springflowers196 April 18 2014 at 9:18 AM

another case of what if the gov. had ben a democrat...................would the headline or at least the article have mentioned that? Rep. do good work but the media is so in the pocket of this administration that to do any kind of showcasing of a rep. is frowned on

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mrdata98 April 18 2014 at 10:08 AM

This used to be common practice; and not only for two year schools. In many states, tuition was free for state residents at state schools. Unheard of today. I applaud Tennessee for their progressive view of education.

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randmhunley April 18 2014 at 10:03 AM

why cant every state do this

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leearlenewiljr April 18 2014 at 10:11 AM

This is the way of the future. Junior College should be just like High School.

Let's not stop there, Completing a 4 year program is next and ... I see graduate school being a paid service to society. It is a public need and service; do the study.

Now there is a problem. The teaching and management salaries of higher education,. That's were the financial bleed is. Presidents of colleges need no more that $190,000.00 a year salary. Many are paid 8 and 9 times that number, and so on. That's the problem that needs addressing. That will trim costs.

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springflowers196 April 18 2014 at 9:19 AM

I hope some of the money can be used at trade schools as college is not the answer for everyone.

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1 reply
mickylitz2 springflowers196 April 18 2014 at 9:29 AM

springflowers196 ........Trade schools would be a much better investment than those public schools run by unions,,,,

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ahrcshaw April 18 2014 at 9:40 AM

This is a great idea, the qualifications is or may be an issue as well as what the students select as Majors. A degree from college does not mean success, it is the path to success. Too often we are lead to believe a college degree means instant success and lots of Money.

The other question is if the program is open to everyone regardless of anything as these community colleges are "supposedly" established to educate people for local job needs which include Trade skills rather then Doctorate degrees. In my opinion this is a major issue as the "Educators" feel anything goes, Plus: The Progressives think "Educated" so called "Experts" should be empowered to decide what others need regardless of Constitutional Rights.

Have you say people.

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mgreene323 April 18 2014 at 9:43 AM

My brother in law, Dr. Thomas McKeon, President of Tulsa Community College in Tulsa OK, initiated a similar program about 8 years ago, called Tulsa Achieves. It has been very successful.

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