Private four-year colleges see trouble in Haslam 'Promise'

Rick Wagner • Feb 15, 2014 at 9:56 PM

A group representing private four-year colleges in Tennessee opposes the funding mechanics of Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Tennessee Promise” proposal.

Through a “last dollar” approach, it would provide two years of free community college or technical school tuition and fees to all high school graduates, starting in the fall of 2015. However, four-year students in the first two years would receive less money from lottery proceeds but receive more the last two years.

The Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association in a Feb. 7 statement said it opposes the funding of the program because it would take money away from four-year college students.

“Both of these institutions (community colleges and technical schools) play unique and key roles in achieving the governor’s Drive to 55 initiative,” the statement said of Haslam’s goal to have 55 percent of Tennesseans with a post-secondary credential by the year 2025.

However, TICUA said universities play a key role as well. It said community colleges confer 16 percent of the degrees awarded in Tennessee among the public and private nonprofit colleges and universities.

TICUA member colleges and universities enroll 26 percent of all students, yet award 36 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 47 percent of the master’s, 51 percent of the professional and 43 percent of the doctorate degrees.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday’s print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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