House passes Haslam's community college program

Despite concern the governor’s plan to guarantee two years of free community college will put too much pressure on community colleges, draw students from four-year schools and create a state-level entitlement program, the House endorsed the plan 87-8.

Approved by the Senate 30-1 on Monday, the General Assembly will next send the last dollar scholarship program to the governor for his signature.

The governor has spent the last year stressing emphasis on higher education in an effort to lift the number of Tennesseans with post secondary degrees from 32 percent now to 55 percent in 2025.

Although the legislation passed easily in both chambers, four-year institutions are worried the program will funnel graduating high schoolers into community colleges and away from four-year schools but have agreed to support the legislation.

No votes on the bill came from Republican Rep. Joe Carr of Lascassas, Glen Casada of Franklin, Jeremy Durham of Franklin, Andy Holt of Dresden, Judd Matheny of Tullahoma, Cameron Sexton of Crossville, Billy Spivey of Lewisburg, and Rick Womick of Rockvale.