UPDATE: TN signed this bill into law on May 25th, 2017 making Tennessee the first state in the country to offer tuition-free community college.
Governor Haslam has been working on his ‘Drive to 55’ plan since he introduced it in 2013.
The ‘Drive to 55’ initiative is aiming to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025.
The last-dollar scholarship, which will cover the cost of tuition and fees after other grants and scholarships are taken into account, will be entirely funded through the state’s “Lottery for Education” account and is estimated to cost approximately $10 million once fully implemented.
“In Tennessee, we’ve determined that the best jobs plan is an education plan. If we want to have jobs ready for Tennesseans, we have to make sure that Tennesseans are ready for jobs, and there is no smarter investment than increasing access to high quality education,” Haslam said. “Just as we did with Tennessee Promise, we’re making a clear statement to families: wherever you fall on life’s path, education beyond high school is critical to the Tennessee we can be. I thank the legislature, particularly the bill’s sponsors, Leader Norris and Representatives Hawk and Powers, for their partnership in this important effort and look forward to signing the bill.”
The legislation allows both full and part-time students to participate as early as 2018.