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Tennessee's Sullivan County sending students to college-for free

January 29, 2002

In what's being hailed as an act of civic benevolence never before seen in Tennessee-or anywhere else-Sullivan County will send every graduate of its six local high schools to a nearby community college. The money will come from the governments' general funds.

Called "Educate and Grow," the program was started last fall to reduce the "brain drain" of bright young people going away to college and never coming back.

The $1,600 scholarship gives high school grads a tuition-free stint at Northeast State Technical Community College in Kingston. In the fall, 103 students enrolled. Seventy-two returned for the spring semester-creating a higher-than-normal retention rate.

Charles Manning, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, called the program "fantastic."