The Hidden Costs of ‘Free’ College
Tennessee’s Promise Program opens access to community colleges but students still struggle
(EWA Radio: Episode 190)
To succeed in college, many students need support and services far beyond tuition assistance. That’s the big takeaway from The Tennessean’s investigation of the state’s Promise Program, which seeks to smooth the road to community college for new high school graduates. EWA Reporting Fellows Jason Gonzales and Adam Tamburin found that while there was a statistically significant increase in community college enrollment since the program’s inception in 2015, students still struggle with outside factors like a lack of preparedness for the rigors of college classes or needing to work to support themselves and their families. So what has worked? What hasn’t? What are early lessons of the program? How can reporters in other communities report on the effectiveness of similar “free college” or college access programs?
This episode of EWA Radio originally aired on December 2, 2018.