They say money doesn’t solve all your troubles. Neither does free tuition. At least not for low-income students participating in Tennessee Promise. For those students, though, more resources in the form of food, shelter, counseling, and tutoring might help.
After four years, Tennessee’s free community college initiative has helped thousands of students. But it has also fallen woefully short for those that need it most: students on the lowest economic rungs. A last-dollar scholarship, Tennessee Promise kicks in only after state and federal aid, including Pell Grants, have been used. For low-income students, this means Tennessee Promise actually gives less support to them than middle or upper-income students who don’t qualify for need-based support.