Tennessee legislature passes free tuition program

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee’s new plan to allow older adults without a college degree or certificate to attend community college free of charge could become a model as more states consider such a policy.

The state General Assembly has passed a bill pushed by Gov. Bill Haslam, who is expected to sign it into law. The tuition program is an extension of Haslam’s Tennessee Promise program that makes all high school graduates eligible for free tuition at the state’s community colleges and technical schools.

The initiative is part of Haslam’s “Drive to 55” campaign to boost the percentage of Tennesseans with higher education degrees or certificates from the current 38 percent to 55 percent by 2025.

Experts predict states will study Tennessee’s plan and its progress and consider passing similar laws.