Rhode Island looks to Tennessee

For advice about free community college tuition. It's a movement gaining momentum. From The Tennessean.

Why Rhode Island turned to Tennessee for college advice
Tennessee was the first state in the nation to adopt a statewide scholarship that allowed new high school graduates to attend college tuition-free. Since the program launched in 2014, tuition-free college became a rallying point for Democrats. Many Democratic states — including Rhode Island, New York and Oregon — have adopted or considered the model pioneered by Tennessee. 
"Quite frankly, this is a good idea," Raimondo said. "It’s a bipartisan issue. This is about jobs." 
Throughout the call, Rhode Island college leaders quizzed Haslam about Tennessee Promise. In his answers, the governor shared parts of the origin story behind the program and the philosophy that helped shape it. 
Haslam said the need for Tennessee Promise, and other college programs, stemmed from the fact that "we had too big of a culture here where people thought that school beyond high school wasn’t for them. Their parents and grandparents hadn’t gone to school beyond high school; they didn’t need to. 
"It came to me when I was in one of our rural, more economically disadvantaged areas. And one of the principals of the high school said, 'Our kids don’t go to school after high school. They’re not that kind of kids,'" Haslam said, recounting a conversation with a high school principal. 
Working with his team, Haslam said he decided they "needed to shock the system."


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