Haslam Launches "Tennessee Promise" in Chattanooga

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Harrison Pirtle
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Updated: 6/04 7:11 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) - Some said it was impossible, and some said it was unlikely to ever happen!
But Tennessee is now offering high school students two years of college, free of charge.
Governor Bill Haslam came to Chattanooga State Community College this afternoon to talk about his favorite piece of legislation.
Its part of a plan to create a job force of the future.

GOV. BILL HASLAM, TENNESSEE "We're the first state in the country to say...that if you'll graduate from high school...we'll promise you two years of community college or technology school absolutely free of charge. "

Governor Bill Haslam was scheduled to sign the bill here two weeks ago, but decided to stay in Nashville for the birth of a grandchild. He signed the bill there, but came to Chatt state to underline the importance of that program.

GOV. BILL HASLAM "Here's the reality of ..I'm glad there are so many students here...of the jobs that will exist in Tennessee in just 10 years, 55 percent of them will require a certificate, like what you can get at the College of Applied Technology, or a degree like you'd got a Chattanooga state, either a 2-year degree or a 4 year degree like you can get across the state."

Right now only a third of Tennesseans have a degree.
Students who accept that free tuition must agree to a couple of stipulations.
Students must donate 9 hours to community project.

DR. JIM CATANZARO, PRES., CHATTANOOGA STATE "...and it requires you to stay in school and be full time, and it requires you to also maintain at least a 2.0 GPA."

Gov. Haslam was met at Chatt State by most of the legislators who helped him pass that bill.
It included Chattanoogans Sen. Bo Watson, Spreaker Pro Tem; Representatative Gerald McCormick, House Majority leader; and Sen. Todd Gardenhire who carried some of the governors legislation.

So where did the state get the money for Tennessee Promise?

GOV. HASLAM "Yes we funded it out of the lottery scholarship money we pay the Hope Lottery scholarships out of, and built up a surplus ...there have been a lot of ideas on how to use that. "



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