[Ed. – With degrees from 4-year colleges growing increasingly meaningless, it’s hard to imagine a bigger waste of taxpayer money.]
Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature proposal this year, a program that would cover a full ride at two-year colleges for any high school graduate, appears on track to pass as lawmakers enter the waning days of the legislative session. The details, however — including how to pay for this perk in the years to come — remain scattered.
Called “Tennessee Promise,” the plan is a cornerstone of Haslam’s “Drive to 55” campaign to improve the state’s graduation rates from the current 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025 to help improve overall job qualifications and attract employers to the state.
After graduation, students who choose to attend a four-year school will be able to do so as juniors. Higher education experts say Florida, Mississippi and Oregon are considering creating similar programs.
Haslam wants to pay for the program, expected to cost about $34 million annually, by using $300 million in excess lottery reserve funds and join it with a $47 million endowment. The state has about $400 million in reserves.