Gov. Haslam promotes free college to Red Bank seniors - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Gov. Haslam promotes free college to Red Bank seniors

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RED BANK, TN (WRCB) -  How does free college sound?

That just became a possibility for some high school seniors as they start thinking about next year.

Governor Bill Haslam was at Red Bank High School Tuesday as part of the Tennessee Promise launch. The program will provide state high school graduates the chance to go to a community or technical college for free.

The initiative is part of Haslam's "Drive To 55" campaign to improve the state's graduation rates from the current 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025.

He's traveling to different schools across the state spreading the message of free college.

"It's really important for folks to know about," Haslam said. "It's wonderful the legislature passed it and we found a way to pay for it but unless students know about it and apply, it won't do anybody any good."

The governor said the Tennessee Promise will help attract employers to the state while giving students an incentive to perform better.

"We're hoping it increases the college-going student body by about 15 percent which is a big number but if it blows that away, I'll be the happiest guy in the state," Haslam said.

The program is funded through excess lottery reserve funds.

Participants will be matched with a mentor. They must also do 8 hours of community service per term enrolled and maintain a 2.0 GPA.

For more information and to apply, visit The deadline to apply is November 1. Haslam said since the program officially opened last week, they've had more than 1,000 applications.  
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