Policy Recommendation: Establish a tuition-free degree or certificate program at a North Carolina Community Colleges for graduating high school seniors with a 2.0 grade point average.

North Carolina should recognize that in today’s economy a high school diploma is not enough to secure a job that pays enough to support a family. Higher education is a must. North Carolina can follow the lead of neighboring Tennessee by instituting a tuition-free community college plan. 

The Tennessee Promise pays for two years of community college courses for every graduating high school student.1 Students must first exhaust all available scholarships and financial aid options, including Pell Grants, and the State would pay the rest. 

The state would support students who have a 2.0 GPA and have met other eligibility requirements such as community service hours and attending mandatory meetings similar to The Tennessee Promise.