The Tennessee Promise is Governor Haslam's proposal to provide Tennessee high school graduates an opportunity to attend Tennessee community college tuition-free. The proposal is one of the key strategies designed to help achieve the "Drive to 55" goal of 55 percent of Tennesseans holding a postsecondary credential by 2025. The Tennessee Promise functions as a last-dollar scholarship program, with students first filling out a FAFSA and drawing down all available federal aid. Because the federal aid process requires a social security number, the Tennessee Promise is not available to undocumented graduates. Modeled after the privately funded TN Achieves program, if enacted, the Tennessee Promise would make Tennessee the first state in the country to offer free community college to nearly every high school graduate.
The program is funded by creating a new endowment from excess lottery fund reserves. In addition, the proposal adjusts the HOPE scholarship amounts: community college HOPE recipients receive $3,000 a year (up from $2,000) to better cover the actual annual tuition cost; students attending a four-year college would have their scholarship amount reduced from $4,000 a year to $3,500 for their freshman and sophomore years and the amount for their junior and senior years raised from $4,000 to $4,500.
The Rutherford County, Nashville Area, Robertson County and Hendersonville Area Chambers of Commerce support Governor Haslam's Tennessee Promise (SB 2471/HB 2491) because we believe investing in higher education increases college completion and promotes affordability, helping ensure our region's long-term economic vitality.
SB 2471/HB 2491 passed the Senate Floor on April 14. It is scheduled for a vote on the House Floor for April 15.[-] less