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Wed May 16, 2018, 09:36 AM

Tennessee to become the 1st state in the nation to make community college free for all adults

Lawmakers approved legislation Wednesday that will expand the Tennessee Promise program that launched in 2014. It made tuition and fees free for recent high school graduates enrolled in a community college or technical school. Now, adults who don't already have an associate's or bachelor's degree can go for free, too, starting in the 2018 fall semester.

Governor Bill Haslam is expected to sign the bill into law. He proposed the legislation in his State of the State address earlier this year. It's a cornerstone of his initiative to increase the number of residents with a college education to 55% by 2025. Last year, less than 39% of residents had gone to college.


Since Haslam, a Republican, pushed for the Tennessee Promise program in 2014, the idea of tuition-free college has gained some traction. Oregon has made community college free for recent high school grads and GED recipients, too. San Francisco will make community college free for all residents starting this fall.

In April, New York made tuition free at two- and four-year colleges for students whose families earn no more than $125,000 a year. Lawmakers in Rhode Island are also considering a proposal to make two years of college tuition-free.


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Reply Tennessee to become the 1st state in the nation to make community college free for all adults (Original post)
ehrnst May 2018 OP
Hortensis May 2018 #1
RKP5637 May 2018 #2
MichMan May 2018 #3
hunter May 2018 #4
cynatnite May 2018 #5

Response to ehrnst (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:38 AM

1. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. Woo-hoo!

This is a major advance for progressivism in government and blow to the knuckledraggers trying to destroy it.

It's also an indication of which way the big winds of history and social progression are blowing. Expect more and more states to eventually follow in spite of Republican control of many.

Speaking of those winds, I'd pulled this up from the Department of Labor in response to a subversively negative Fox News segment that claimed fewer teens were working because of immigrant labor, parental coddling and "overscheduling," and lying around playing video games. The DoL's take is even more positive than this wonderful development in TN.

In our nationís changing economy, the pull of education is a key factor in how teens are fitting into the labor force. Back in 1979, about 58 percent of teens (16-19) were in the labor force, but by 2000, only 52 percent were. By 2011, after the recession, about 34 percent of teens were in the labor force. Whatís behind this change? Most teens who do not participate in the labor force cite school as the reason.

Consider these factors:

Higher attendance: In 2015, about 3 in 4 teens were enrolled in school. This proportion has trended up from about 60 percent in 1985, which is the first year data are available.

Time-consuming classes: After sleeping, school activities take up more time than anything else in a teenagerís week day. And high school coursework has become more strenuous. High schoolers today are taking tougher and more advanced courses, including those specifically designed for college preparation and credit. And most start college the fall after graduating from high school. In October 2015, about 70 percent of recent high school graduates were enrolled in college, compared with less than half of recent graduates in October 1959.

More summer students: Summer has always been the most common time for teens to work, but fewer teens are holding summer jobs: about 4 in 10 teens were in the labor force last July, compared with about 7 in 10 in July 1978. At the same time, school attendance in summer is on the rise. The proportion of teens enrolled in July 2016 (42 percent) was more than four times higher than in July 1985.

Higher education costs: College tuition costs have risen dramatically in real (inflation-adjusted) terms, so a part-time job is generally not sufficient to cover costs. Teens enrolled in college therefore are more likely to cover costs through loans and grants: 84 percent of full-time undergraduates received financial aid in 2011-12, compared with 58 percent in 1992-93.

The lower graph indicates this trend away from summer jobs is expected to continue dramatically. Encouraging as parents and kids themselves understand they need to continue education if they're not to fall off the current wage cliff in low-skill jobs. Working in summer must already seem like something of a "loser" move for too many, like heading for the crab processing factory jobs this administration clearly expects Maryland grads to replace immigrant workers in.

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Response to ehrnst (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:45 AM

2. OMG! This is great!!!!! A great step forward!!!!! n/t

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Response to ehrnst (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 11:07 AM

3. So the first state to do this is a red state with a Republican governor ?

Why haven't blue states already done this?

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Response to ehrnst (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 12:49 PM

4. I got a very respectable university degree without any loans...

... and not because my parents were wealthy or I was a scholarship worthy student.

I remember the price of books being one of my major concerns. Sometimes I'd come up with the money to pay for the most beat-up used books, sometimes I suffered library copies which had to be fought for before exams, and a couple of times I got various grants.

For me high school was often a Lord of the Flies experience. Fortunately I was able to quit it for college. This was before the GED. I'd passed a couple of Community College night classes and this may have been what convinced my parents and high school principal and counselors that I was ready to move on.

My younger sister also had a rough time in high school, but by then quitting high school for college had been formalized. She'd already quit high school regardless, but then signed up for and passed the GED and enrolled in community college.

So far as I recall, Community College was free then. There were a few fees maybe for older adults, but they could be waived.

Curiously, of all my siblings, me and my sister who quit high school have the university degrees. My siblings who hung on and graduated from high school have two year Community College degrees or certificates.

This was 'seventies California.

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Response to ehrnst (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 12:54 PM

5. This is great news, but...

I still remember the repubs practically spitting in Obama's face when he wanted to expand this program nationwide.

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