Tennessee Governor Proposes Free Community College For AdultsBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has proposed to expand the free community college program to adults. The program, which is already a year-old, allows recent high school graduates to attend community college for free.
NPR reported that Haslam announced the proposal on Monday night at the State of the State address. The proposal was said to have been well-received by members of both Democrat and Republican parties.
The governor is pursuing his goal of making 55 percent of Tennessee's 6.6 million citizens achieve a postsecondary degree or certificate. The goal is expected to be reached by 2025.
Currently, it was noted that the state needs over 870,000 postsecondary degrees or certificates to achieve that goal. Free community college to adults would help with the success of that goal, especially since it includes the 900,000 Tennessee citizens who have already taken some college classes but was not able to complete their degrees.
According to RT, the program, which is named the Reconnect scholarship, is expected to cost $10 million per year. Gov. Haslam has explained that the program will not add a burden to the taxpayer. Instead, it will depend on money from sources such as federal Pell Grants and the state lottery.
A few other states have also revealed their plans of providing free college. Earlier this month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that students from low-income families will be qualified for his free college plan.
Students from families earning $125,000 or less per year will be eligible for the proposal. They may be able to go to state, city and even community colleges for free. It was noted that New York is already spending $1 billion every year on a tuition assistance program. Its awards cap is at $5,165.
The University of Illinois has also announced a new initiative that includes a tuition freeze to boost its enrollment over the next five years. Moreover, a new Senate Bill, known as the Afford to Dream Bill, has been proposed to help undocumented students afford higher education.