Tennessee’s Free Community College Is a Success and Spreading

Convergence of Relevant Stuff

Benefits of Free

October 16, 2014

Paul Fain

The concept of tuition-free community college is picking up steam. Chicago this month followed Tennessee with the creation of a new community-college scholarship for high school graduates.

Meanwhile, student demand in Tennessee has been enormous. The Tennessean, a Nashville newspaper,reported that in just two months 35,000 high school seniors have applied to the program, which is called the Tennessee Promise. The state appears likely to double its original estimate of 20,000 applications.

“We are going to get a lot of new people,” said Karen Bowyer, president of Dyersburg State Community College.

Despite the enthusiasm, the “free” community college planshavecritics.

The scholarships do not cover most living expenses, theyhave said, such as for transportation or day care. Some of the money also will go to students who can afford to pay for tuition.

In addition, Chicago’s…

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