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GOV. HASLAM POISED TO SIGN TENNESSEE RECONNECT ACT

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is set to make history Wednesday as he signs the Tennessee Reconnect Act, making Tennessee the first state in the nation to offer all high school graduates and adults the chance to earn a postsecondary degree or certificate free of tuition and fees and at no cost to taxpayers. Haslam will hold bill signing ceremonies in Morristown, Smyrna and Memphis. In 2013, Haslam launched the Drive to 55 to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025. Currently, Tennessee needs 871,000 postsecondary degrees or certificates to reach 55 percent, but mathematically there’s no way to reach that goal by only serving high school students. There are over 900,000 adults in Tennessee who have some college but no degree. Tennessee adults without a certificate can already attend Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) tuition-free under the current Reconnect program. The Tennessee Reconnect Act adds community colleges to the program, funded through the lottery for education account.