free tuition

Lessons from Michigan’s free tuition initiatives

Despite the success of Michigan’s numerous initiatives to provide tuition-free college, an analysis from New America exploring Michigan’s effort to increase the affordability and accessibility of higher education found that the fragmented approach reduces the state’s ability to reach all residents needing financial assistance. To make college more affordable and accessible to all Michiganders, the report recommends considering more straightforward free-tuition programs.

American Families Plan outlines investments for human side of nation’s competitiveness

In 2014, Tennessee’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam, created the nation’s first program to ensure high school graduates could attend community and technical college tuition-free, Tennessee Promise.  While several states have followed suit in one form or another, President Joe Biden wants to take the concept nationwide with the federal government footing $109 billion of the bill through his American Families Plan. Announced during his first address to Congress on April 28, free community college was just one of the proposals outlined that could dramatically alter regional capacities to support innovation, entrepreneurship and competitiveness across the country.

Free tuition offerings continue to evolve in states across the US

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham became the latest governor to propose a plan for free tuition, with what has been called the “one of the most ambitious attempts to make higher education more accessible.” If approved, the plan would allow in-state students to attend any of the 29 state public colleges or universities, regardless of income. It is designed as a “last-dollar” program. If approved, it would be just the second state to offer full tuition coverage to its residents (New York offers the Excelsior scholarship, which will be fully phased in in 2020), according to New Mexico’s governor.

Tennessee Promise paying off

New data analyzing the first cohort of Tennessee Promise students reveals a higher graduation rate and increased number of students earning a college credential when compared to the previous year’s non-Promise cohort. The inaugural class of Tennessee Promise students graduated from high school in 2015 and completed their five semesters of eligibility in December. The program is showing impressive early results including:

Promise programs increasingly pervasive, popular

Around the country, free or greatly reduced tuition programs at institutions of higher education – oftentimes called “promise scholarships” – are being increasingly utilized as a way to support education and workforce development. With a focus on those programs occurring at the community level, a new interactive database from the Upjohn Institute sheds light on more than 85 examples of place-based promise programs, including their history, their scope, and their impacts. Last month, SSTI examined recent legislation around promise scholarships in seven states, including Tennessee, whose program provides two years tuition-free at state community or technical colleges. Now in its fourth year, that program has exceeded most application expectations: 62,860 of the state's 74,000 graduating seniors in public and private schools – 85 percent – applied for the program, according to The Tennessean

States of Innovation 2017: Free tuition moving into more state toolboxes

This week we continue our series on state legislation pertaining to the innovation economy that has been enacted this year around the country. This second installment of the States of Innovation 2017 series deals with free tuition.

A number of states took action to increase the education and skills of their workforce by implementing free or greatly reduced tuition programs at either community colleges or state colleges. The move to increase access to higher education while not new, took up increased urgency this year. With Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Tennessee all taking action this past year, Maine and North Carolina were among others considering other options but as of today’s publication not moving the proposals forward.

Tennessee reconnects with adult students, aims to boost workforce

Adults in Tennessee seeking to return to the classroom will have a new option for free tuition at community colleges, part of an expansion of the Tennessee Promise scholarship program. The newly passed and expanded Tennessee Reconnect legislation extends eligibility for free tuition to persons who have been out of school for longer periods of time or who may have never attended college. It is part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Drive to 55” focus, where he hopes to increase the percentage of the state’s adults equipped with a college degree or certificate to 55 percent; it is currently closer to 30 percent in Tennessee. In his press release on the program, Haslam said, “In Tennessee, we’ve determined that the best jobs plan is an education plan.”

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