Tennessee community colleges must improve graduation rates if we are going to do right by our students

“Miserable” and “embarrassing.”

These are the harsh words outgoing Governor Bill Haslam recently used to describe community college graduation rates in Tennessee.

His assessment, while blunt, is undeniably true. Thanks to programs like Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect that cover tuition for eligible students, enrollment in our state’s community colleges has ticked up in recent years – yet outcomes at these institutions fall behind national averages.

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