Tennessee Governor Proposes Free Community College For Mid-Career Adults Too | Nashville Public Radio

Tennessee Governor Proposes Free Community College For Mid-Career Adults Too

Jan 30, 2017

Gov. Bill Haslam wants to expand his program to provide free community college to all Tennesseans.

That was the biggest revelation to come out of his annual State of the State address.

Since the fall of 2015, Tennessee has provided free community college for new high school graduates.

Money for the program, known as Tennessee Promise, has come from a variety of sources, including federal Pell grants and the state Lottery.

Now, Haslam says he wants tuition-free community college to be available to all Tennesseans, including those who finished high school years ago.

"We have to do more for adult students in Tennessee," he said. "We need to reach the working mother that went to college but didn’t complete, or the son with sons of his own who like his dad never went to college but knows that he needs to upgrade his skills."

The new program would be called Tennessee Reconnect and, like its predecessor, would be paid for with federal funds and Lottery money. Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh says it’s a worthy idea.

"Actually I had hoped that we would do that earlier. But I'm glad to see him doing that now."

Republican lawmakers applauded the proposal as well.

Haslam says free community college for all is the only way Tennessee will reach one of his biggest goals, which is having at least 55 percent of the state's adults with some sort of degree.