Alexander Statement on President’s “America’s College Promise” Proposal

Posted on January 9, 2015

KNOXVILLE, Jan. 9 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on President Obama’s America’s College Promise proposal:

“The right way to expand Tennessee Promise nationally is for other states to do for themselves what Tennessee has done. Then, instead of creating a new federal program, the federal government can help in two ways. First, reduce federal paperwork for the ridiculous 108-question student aid application  form which discourages 2 million Americans from applying for federal Pell grants that are already available to help pay community college tuition. Every Tennessee Promise applicant has to fill out this form. Second, pay for the millions of new Pell grants that will be awarded if other states emulate Tennessee Promise and if Congress reduces federal paperwork and allows students to use Pell grants year-round.   

“The reason Tennessee can afford Tennessee Promise is that 56 percent of our state’s community college students already have a federal Pell grant, which averages $3,300, to help pay for the average $3,800-per-year tuition. The state pays the difference--$500 on average. Nationally, in 16 states, the average Pell grant pays for the typical student’s entire community college tuition.” 

Alexander is chairman of the Senate education committee.

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