Bill Haslam — the governor whose successful proposal of the Tennessee Promise has generated national attention — has the wind at his back these days. A recent poll from Middle Tennessee State University found that 79 percent of state residents approve of the program, including a whopping 90 percent of across-the-aisle Democrats.
With such support, Haslam has unveiled several new higher education proposals in his budget, including a $1.5-million pilot program intended for adults who are at least halfway to an associate’s degree. Those who qualify would receive the same benefit as recent high school graduates in the Tennessee Promise.
One of the results of the Promise is that four-year institutions in the state have already announced ways that they are making college more affordable in an effort to attract students who otherwise might be considering a community college option.
As we enter the final days of 2014, we look back at a significant year in the Promise movement as new Cities of Promise have emerged with innovative ways to fund scholarships and support students. Here’s a look back at some of the things that happened in the last 12 months:
• Tennessee went Promise mad as a huge percentage of the state’s high school seniors signed up for the Tennessee Promise, which Gov. Bill Haslam proposed and guided into law. The Promise will use proceeds from the state lottery to provide residents with free tuition at community colleges and colleges of applied technology beginning in the fall of 2015.
• The Seattle Promise — a bold new initiative from the Seattle Central Foundation — was established to provide a full scholarship to every student at Seattle Central College who demonstrates financial need, enrolls full time and maintains a 3.0 grade-point average. By eliminating financial need as a barrier to paying tuition, the Seattle Promise will allow low-income Seattle students of all ages — not just recent high school graduates — to pursue a higher education. Continue reading
New Haven Promise Executive Director Patricia Melton will be participating in the White House’s College Opportunity Day of Action on Thursday with more than 300 university presidents and other leaders launching new initiatives to open university doors to more students.
“I am thrilled to get this opportunity, through our amazing partnership with Yale University and on behalf of New Haven Promise, to participate in this White House Summit and to learn and share new initiatives that came from the first Day of Action back in January,” said Melton. “When President Salovey reported that Promise received a shout out at the first Summit, it created excitement in our Promise community. Now we close out the year with a first-hand visit.” Continue reading