Gov. Bill Haslam is giving a little on his free community college plan after negotiating with four-year colleges and universities concerned about lowering amount of the HOPE Scholarship.
“To say we don’t still have some concerns would not be accurate,” said Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, in an email to the Post. He and leaders at four-year schools have expressed concern that the Tennessee Promise plan offering last-dollar scholarships for graduating high schoolers to attend two-year community colleges or technical schools would discourage attendance at four-year institutions.
Students can now qualify for a $4,000 scholarship for up to four years if they meet benchmarks for good grades or ACT scores. Under a version of Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed Tennessee Promise that advanced from the House Education Committee Tuesday, the scholarships will now total $3,500 for each of the first two years a student attends a four-year college or university and $4,500 awards for the second two years.
The governor’s original proposal set the HOPE Scholarship at $3,000 for the first two years and $5,000 for the second two.
“We will be watching the impact of the TN Promise and the change in the lottery scholarship amounts over the years to come," said Pressnell. "Our member colleges and universities do an incredible job of making college affordable with as little debt as possible. We want to make sure that all students make the right college choice so that they can be most successful in college and best prepared for a lifetime. This is the most important investment of time and resources that a person makes in a lifetime. Students and families shouldn’t simply settle for an academic path based on price.”
The bill now heads to the House Government Operations Commission and faces a hearing in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday.
Belmont University has secured a permit for construction of a 398,000-square-foot underground parking garage to be accessed via 15th Avenue South. The 1,040-space garage also will be the foundation for an academic and dining services building to be located adjacent to the university’s Baskin Center School of Law Building. R.C. Mathews Contractor LLC has the permit, valued at about $34.2 million.
Image courtesy of ESa
The latest U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools ranking has Vanderbilt Law School tied for 16th in the country with UCLA. That's down a spot from 2013 but right in line with where the school has scored over the past five years. The University of Tennessee School of Law, however, slipped to 72nd from 61st last year.
Also landing on U.S. News' top 25 lists for Vanderbilt are the Owen Graduate School of Management, the Peabody College of Education and Human Development and its School of Medicine. The engineering school also did well, climbing to its highest-ever spot. Here's VU's release.
HT: Above The Law
As two bills extending in-state college tuition to undocumented immigrants and U.S.-born children whose parents are undocumented await a series of committee votes on the Hill, the Nashville Chamber board is officially adding the issue to their legislative agenda.
The annual cost difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can be as much as $8,000 for a public university in our region. The proposed legislation aligns with the Chamber’s policy principles of increasing the number of postsecondary degrees in the region and immigration-related reforms that address workforce needs.
Haslam said this week the concept has "merit," but has yet to say whether he'll offer his support.
Gov. Bill Haslam said he is considering bills extending in-state tuition to U.S.-born students of undocumented immigrants and children illegally brought to the country, but cast doubt on including them in his free community college plan.
Haslam and his office will consider and evaluate the impact of two bills moving through the legislature allowing students who have lived in the state for five years and have good grades or ACT scores to attend college at the in-state tuition rate, he said.
“I think it’s an idea that has some merit. I really do,” Haslam told reporters Wednesday.
But he said he sees a problem with extending that offer to his “Tennessee Promise” proposal, which offers last-dollar scholarships allowing graduating high schoolers to attend two-years community colleges or technical schools for free.
Metro Schools Director Jesse Register sent a letter to the governor last week praising the “Tennessee Promise” but urged the governor to add in undocumented immigrants and U.S.-born children of immigrants in the country illegally.
Haslam's plan as proposed requires students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a document that requires a social security number that undocumented students do not have. That's a problem, said Haslam, and taking that requirement out of his plan would mean “a very different financial situation for the state,” he said.
“Part of the idea to make this affordable for the state is that everybody goes out and applies and gets every bit of financial aid they can and then we fill in the last dollar. Without that, it’s a very different financial proposition for the state," said Haslam who pointed to the active legislation on the Hill as a way to address Register's concerns.
POSTDATA: WARRANTY DEEDS