Community college students & staff welcome 'Tennessee Promise'

Community college students & staff welcome 'Tennessee Promise' proposal

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Under the governor's proposal, full time students attending Pellissippi State Community College would end up saving around $8,000 for their first two years of schooling. Under the governor's proposal, full time students attending Pellissippi State Community College would end up saving around $8,000 for their first two years of schooling.
"We anticipate a very large enrollment increase as a result as of his announcement last night," Pellissippi State Community College Vice President of Academic Affairs Ted Lewis said. "We anticipate a very large enrollment increase as a result as of his announcement last night," Pellissippi State Community College Vice President of Academic Affairs Ted Lewis said.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Community college students and staff said they welcome Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to offer two years of free tuition and fees for high school graduates attending community college or tech schools.

It was part of Haslam's budget proposal outlined during Monday night's State of the State address and was dubbed the "Tennessee Promise."

"Through the Tennessee promise, we are fighting the rising cost of higher education and we are raising our expectations as a state," Haslam said. "We are committed to making a clear statement to families that education beyond high school is a priority in the state of Tennessee."

Haslam's office estimates that more than 25,000 students will apply to community colleges under the Tennessee Promise each year. All of those students would be assigned a mentor.

"Money is not easy to come by," Pellissippi State Community College student Michael West said. "I would think that would be a blessing in many people's lives actually having their first two years of school paid."

Haslam said Tennessee would be the only state to offer high school graduates free college tuition and fees for two years.

"If we want to have jobs ready for Tennesseeans, we have to make sure that Tennesseeans are ready for jobs," Haslam said.

"It would be great," Pellissippi State Community College student Chandler Riley said. "It would cut down on how much we have to work, take some stress off of us."

Under the governor's proposal, full time students attending Pellissippi State Community College would end up saving around $8,000 for their first two years of schooling.

"We anticipate a very large enrollment increase as a result as of his announcement last night and we think we're up to meet that challenge and be able to address the needs of those students," Pellissippi State Community College Vice President of Academic Affairs Ted Lewis said.

Students attending Roane State Community College would save around $7,500.

"The Tennessee Promise could bring the benefits of higher education to thousands of students," Roane State President Dr. Chris Whaley said. "The proposed scholarships will ensure cost is not a barrier to a college education, and mentor support through the program will help students make a successful transition from high school to college. Gov. Haslam's initiative is bold, and it has the potential to change lives."

In order to be eligible for the Tennessee Promise, students must work with an assigned mentor and maintain satisfactory academic progress. They also must perform one day of community service a semester.

Haslam said the program would be funded by the interest from an endowment, taking about $300 million from the lottery scholarship reserve to create that endowment. The estimated cost of the program is about $34 million a year.

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