In 2015, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to promise a free community-college education to every high school graduate, regardless of income or GPA. Students only had to complete four simple paperwork steps, commit to going to school full time and start classes the fall after they graduated.
Three years later, Seattle voters passed a $600 million education levy that included $40 million to launch a similar program called Seattle Promise.
So far, the results of Seattle’s program are strong. “We’re outperforming what we anticipated in the levy in all the best ways,” said Melody McMillan, Seattle Promise senior executive director.