Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam promised high school students in Knoxville on Thursday that the state would help provide them with a college education.
The governor was at Fulton High School for the latest in a series of ceremonial signings of the "Tennessee Promise" bill that was passed this legislative session.
The proposal will provide two free years at a state community college or a college of applied technology (TCAT). The funding comes from excess lottery funds, which also provides the Hope Scholarship to college students.
"Through the Tennessee Promise, we are fighting the rising cost of higher education, and we are raising our expectations as a state," Haslam said. "We are committed to making a clear statement to families that education beyond high school is a priority in the state of Tennessee.
"This is a bold promise," Haslam continued. "It is a promise that speaks volumes to current and prospective employers, and it is a promise that will make a real difference for generations of Tennesseans."
Participating students must:
- Graduate from high school
- Agree to work with a mentor
- Complete eight hours of community service
- Maintain a 2.0 GPA during their two years at a community college or TCAT.
After graduating from a community college, if students choose to attend a four-year school, the state's Transfer Pathways program makes it possible for those students to start as a junior.