Governor Bill Haslam held a ceremonial signing of his Tennessee Promise law at Knoxville's Fulton High School today, a law that will provide free community college tuition for thousands of Tennessee students.
Tennessee Promise will eliminate tuition costs for Tennessee high school students who graduate and immediately enroll at one of the state's community colleges.
The initiative was rolled out in January and was considered one of Haslam's highest priorities during this year's legislative session. While most of the bill's opponents agreed with the concept of providing free community college tuition, many had problems with how the program will be funded. Some of the money to pay for Tennessee Promise will come from a lottery scholarship surplus, but the cost of the program will also require the state to lower the Hope Scholarship award amount for students entering four-year colleges and universities. Those students who stay on track to graduate will eventually receive an increase in their scholarship amounts.
Today's bill signing in Knoxville stop was part of a statewide tour to draw attention to the new law.