Promise and the small privates

Just a rumor but I've heard some small private colleges will start offering associate degrees to take advantage of Tennessee Promise--although I'm not sure if that's even possible under the legislation.  But competition is tough out there.  However, despite the title below, I'm not sure this is an unexpected fear.  From The Hechinger Report.

When the governor of Tennessee proposed letting students in that state go to community college for free — almost a year before President Barack Obama started pushing the idea nationally — a surprising worry flashed into Kina Mallard’s mind. 
“My first reaction was: another curve ball,” she recalled grimly. “Here’s another curve ball for higher education.” 
Mallard is executive vice president and provost at Carson-Newman University, a Baptist liberal arts school in Jefferson City, Tennessee with about 2,300 students, and the kind of small private, nonprofit higher-education institution already fending off challenges to its continued enrollment — and particularly vulnerable to more. 
Competing for students is a very real bottom-line issue for us,” said Mallard. 
And it’s getting much, much tougher. . . .
And now universities and colleges — especially small private nonprofit ones — have an unexpected new problem: competing with free community college, which the president wants to roll out nationwide. And while the Obama plan so far has no timetable and it is widely considered a longshot to pass the Republican Congress, Tennessee will make community college free this fall, and several other states are considering it. 
“You step back 50 feet and these trends do have a potential for adversely affecting some of the nonprofit, not very selective institutions,” said Richard Ekman, president of the Council of Independent Colleges. 
Or, as Claude Pressnell, Jr., president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, put it: “It’s difficult to compete with free.”

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