Last week, President Obama’s proposal to make two years of Community College free for students who qualify was unveiled at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Volunteer state was chosen for the speech because the nationwide program is inspired by a program starting there this year. The Fact Sheet provided by the White House also states that a program right here in Illinois had a part in inspiring the plan.
· In Tennessee, the program is called Tennessee Promise. It will cover community college tuition for all of the state’s graduated high-school seniors with funds from the lottery. Almost 90% of the state’s graduation high school seniors have applied to the program, and although it’s not expected that all will actually enroll, that number is double the number of expected applicants.
· Here in Illinois, the City of Chicago announced a scholarship program called “Chicago Star.” Chicago Public School graduates with a grade point average of at least 3.0 will have the costs of tuition at one of the seven City Colleges covered for three years, after state and federal financial aid. Also, the Illinois Community College Board has shown interest in President Obama’s tuition program. The director of the Illinois Board indicated that Illinois will look to Tennessee’s program for guidance.