President Obama Visits Pellissippi State
President Barak Obama and Vice President Joe Biden spoke at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tenn., Friday to announce the president’s proposed America’s College Promise program, which would offer two years of free community college to students who maintain a 2.5 GPA while enrolled at least half-time and make steady progress toward a degree.
Gov. Bill Haslam, Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker attended the event as well. Tennessee has had a strong focus on education in recent years. With his Drive to 55 initiative, Haslam declared it a state goal to have 55 percent of the population achieve some sort of college degree or training certification by 2025. Tennessee’s colleges have been instrumental in efforts to reach that target, developing a series of innovative programs to ensure students are prepared for college-level work and to help students complete their degrees once they enroll through more intensive advising and support.
Haslam was recently in Washington, D.C., where he was recognized at the president’s Education Summit for the new Tennessee Promise program, which was passed by the Tennessee Assembly last year. The bold program, which served as a model for the president’s initiative, offers Tennessee high school graduates the opportunity to study at any of the state’s 13 community colleges or 27 technical colleges for two years with all mandatory tuition and fees paid. More than 56,000 students initially registered for the program during its first application period, which ended Nov. 1.
The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 100,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.