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House Panel Oks Haslam's Free Tuition Plan

House Panel Oks Haslam's Free Tuition Plan

CREATED Apr 8, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Governor Bill Haslam's signature proposal to create a program that would cover tuition at two-year colleges for any high school graduate is headed to a full House vote.

The House Finance Committee approved the measure on a voice vote on Tuesday.

Called "Tennessee Promise," the companion bill was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee.

The legislation is a cornerstone of Haslam's "Drive to 55" campaign to improve the state's graduation rates from the current 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025 to help improve overall job qualifications and attract employers to the state.

Haslam wants to pay for the program by using $300 million in excess lottery reserve funds and join it with a $47 million endowment.

One concern of higher education officials and lawmakers is making sure the plan is adequately funded.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)