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Tennessee Promise Boosted Community College Enrollments

August 18, 2020

The Tennessee Promise, a statewide, last-dollar free tuition scholarship for community college students the state began in 2015, increased first-time, full-time undergraduate enrollment at Tennessee's community colleges by at least 40 percent, according to a new study by Hieu Nguyen, a Ph.D. student in economics at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The journal Labour Economics published the paper.

The research also found a positive response to the scholarship, which covers fees as well as tuition, among Black and Latino students. However, it also showed a short-run reduction of about 2 percent in enrollment at the state's public four-year institutions, suggesting "some degree of substitutability between the unsubsidized and subsidized college sectors."

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