Tennessee Senate passes free-tuition bill

(File Photo)

The Tennessee Senate has passed a bill that allows older adults without a college degree or certificate to attend community college free of charge.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam pushed the bill that passed the Senate on Tuesday. It comes three years after Tennessee became the first state in the nation to make community college tuition-free for new high school graduates.

Those who support the measure hailed it as a way to educate and transform the state's workforce. Haslam has set a goal that 55 percent of Tennesseans have a college degree or certificate by 2025.

The legislation allows both full- and part-time students to be eligible to participate as early as 2018. The program is expected to cost the state $11 million after students apply for grants and scholarships and will be paid through lottery proceeds.

The House, which has already passed the bill, needs to cast another vote on it due to a technical fix.

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