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posted by n1 on Friday April 18 2014, @08:08AM   Printer-friendly
from the gambling-with-education dept.

Alternet reports on eduction reform in Tennessee.

The Tennessee House and Senate have approved a measure that allows for two free years of tuition at community colleges or technical schools for all the state's high school graduates. The proposal not only has the backing of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, it was based on his idea.

Moreover, the legislation passed by an overwhelming majority. The state's House of Representatives voted in favor of the legislation with a 87-8 margin.

When the plan, called Tennessee Promise, becomes law, [it] should provide free higher education for about 25,000 students in the state beginning in 2015. It will only benefit incoming freshmen. College sophomores attending two year schools in 2015 will not be able to participate in the plan, but will still be eligible for other state financial aid programs.

The estimated cost of the program is $34 [million] annually. Money will be transferred from the proceeds of the Tennessee Lottery to create an endowment for the program.

A similar proposal in 2007 failed.

In 1960, California was the first state to suspend college tuition. After President Reagan's cuts, the state dropped that program in 1984. Despite that, California's public colleges still have the lowest tuition rates in the country.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18 2014, @02:19PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18 2014, @02:19PM (#33070)

    This story at NPR [] has some details on the funding:

    "So I know you're wondering," Haslam said. "How do we pay for this?"

    Haslam told state lawmakers he'll tap into a mound of excess cash generated by the state's lottery. Roughly $300 million would go into an endowment. The returns would pay to send high school seniors without other scholarships to community college.

    "Net cost to the state, zero. Net impact on our future? Priceless," he said to a round of applause. It's an effective one-liner that's been praised by education leaders and students.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18 2014, @02:53PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18 2014, @02:53PM (#33079)

    Based on that, they believe they can generate $34 million a year off of a $300 million endowment? They are expecting some pretty serious returns on their money. I want to know who their broker is.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Angry Jesus on Friday April 18 2014, @03:22PM

      by Angry Jesus (182) on Friday April 18 2014, @03:22PM (#33100)

      According to the NPR article, they are also cutting $1000 per year from the first 2 years of current lottery-funded scholarships to 4-year colleges.