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Tennessee makes Community College free for all adults.
Is this for real?
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I don't live in Tennessee, but I do believe it is real.  I live in Kentucky and there was talk of doing the same thing here, but instead they started a focused scholarship in high demand fields called "Work Ready Kentucky."
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Yes. I looked into it last year. It's called Tennessee Promise.
The short and simple explanation of how it works is this: You can't have a degree already. You have to be eligible to get federal loans. You don't take loans, just be eligible to. Any grants you are eligible for, like Pell, will be used first then the state picks up the rest of the tab for a 2 year degree at select schools. There are some that are online, some aren't.
I'm from Tennessee. When it started, it was applied to students graduating from HS. They paid for your classes 2 years at any TN CC. I used it when I could.
Thomas Edison State University (45/120) credits
CC: 19 credits
The Institutes: 2 credits
Study: 6 credits
SL: 18 credits
Yeah and for high school students the deal is even better. I knew someone from Tennessee who graduated high school and had two years of community college paid for and all books paid for and somehow got a check for a thousand a month too. Didn't even want to go to college, but by going to school he'd get paid just as much as a minimum wage job so why not. He also worked a little bit on the side while in school and had some AP credits. It's a really good deal from I've heard. But I don't think anyone can cash in on it, for the high school version you have to graduate from Tennessee high schools and the adult one you probably have to live in Tennessee for a certain period of time.
That's an old link, here's the one you're talking about:

While you do have to be a TN resident, it doesn't say for how long. It also, for adults, talks about financially needy - and there is a limit to how many scholarships they'll pay out. So I'm guessing you're going to have to fall under certain dollar limits to get it (meaning they're going to look at students/families with income above the pell grant limit, but less than a certain amount that would make it harder to afford community college). Just a guess though.

We have a grant at my local CC that is similar to the TN program for high school seniors: The Palomar Promise Program (I think they're going to go throughout the country with the "promise" name BTW). Ours is a grant, not state funded, and every high school senior in the local area (there is a list of which schools you have to have graduated from) gets their first year of free college, plus $600/semester for books. They have to be in a mentoring program to try to keep the kids on track. You have to take at least 12cr per semester.

I'm going to guess that these will be popping up all over at a state near you.
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It's a good campaign, but it boils down to this: you have to be 24 (FAFSA independent) and it's a last dollar award- so if you have a Pell, that will cover everything and there won't even be any money necessary. So, hypothetically, say it costs you $3000 per year at the CC, your Pell award pays $5000 and you get a $2000 overage back to you. This happens with or without the program. For those that are cash-flowing their program, it's awesome!

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