Tennessee Governor Proposes Free Community College for Graduating High School Seniors

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Updated: 2/04 6:18 am
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam proposes giving a free community and technology college education to every graduating senior that wants it.

It's part of an effort to improve graduation rates from colleges and universities from the current 32% to 55%.

Under the plan, graduating high school seniors will be able to attend two years of community college or a college of applied technology free of tuition and fees.

After graduation, students who choose to attend a four-year school will be able to do so as a junior.  Haslam says "if we want to have jobs ready for Tennesseans, then we need to have Tennesseans ready for job."

Haslam wants to use funds from the state's lottery reserves to help fund the new initiative.
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Richard Rider - 2/4/2014 10:49 PM
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Tennessee should learn from the disastrous California "free tuition" experience. When students have no skin in the game, their commitment to college is often "iffy." I am an infrequent guess lecturer in CA community colleges. Back when our colleges were free, we had a FORTY PERCENT drop rate -- only 60% of the students who started the class were there at the end of the semester. As a lecturer, I insisted that I speak in the first six weeks of the class, before so many had dropped out. Now California charges about half the national CC average (and still the lowest), though we give up to 40% of our students a "hardship" exemption (just fill out an unverified form and you pay no tuition). So even now, we still have a 25-30% drop rate in the liberal arts classes. But faculty must still be paid and other costs covered. It's a mystery in our Sacramento capitol -- where does this money comes from? You don't need a college degree to figure that out.
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