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Gov. Bill Haslam leading free college movement

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican from a deep red Southern state, has emerged as an unlikely leader of the free tuition movement.

The state made history three years ago when Haslam pushed the passage of an education bill that offers free community college to all new high school graduates, making the Volunteer State the first in the country to do so.

Tennessee also made the state’s technical schools free to residents, no matter how long ago they graduated.

Now Haslam is pushing for an expansion in Tennessee, one that would make it the first state to offer free community college to nearly all adults who do not have a post-secondary degree or certificate.