Tennessee Governor's Committment to Adults without Degrees to attend Community College

Tennessee Governor, Bill Haslam, has introduced a proposal to make Tennessee the first state in the nation to offer all Tennessee adults without a degree access to community college tuition-free, at no cost to taxpayers. 

If the Tennessee Reconnect Act is approved, Tennessee may become the first state in the nation to offer both schoolers and adult learners the chance to earn a post-secondary degree or certificate, without paying tuition.

Launched in 2013, the Drive to 55 is the Haslam’s initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a post-secondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. Currently, there are 900,000 adults in Tennessee that have some college but no degree. Tennessee adults without a certificate can already attend Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) tuition-free under the Reconnect program.  Haslam’s Tennessee Reconnect Act would add community colleges into the program.


Haslam has also recently proposed Tennessee STRONG (Support, Training, and Renewing Opportunity for National Guardsmen) Act, which will begin a four-year pilot program for eligible members of the Tennessee National Guard to receive a "last-dollar tuition reimbursement" toward a bachelor’s degree. The Reconnect and STRONG acts are the final two pieces of NextTennessee.

Tennessee LINCS Members, what are your plans for connecting with Governor Haslam's legislation to include adult education under these initiatives?


Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator