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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, March 27, 2014

Free college education for high school graduates

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


High paying jobs are going unfilled because employers can't find skilled workers to fill them. But one state has a solution to the problem.

The governor of Tennessee has outlined a plan called Tennessee Promise that would allow all high school graduates to attend 2-year community colleges or technical schools for free.

The Wall Street Journal reports there's been some pushback from private colleges because the governor plans to fund Tennessee Promise by cutting funding for scholarships to 4-year schools.

Whatever comes of this initiative, one thing is clear: All 50 states should get on board with similar plans. We have too many jobs going unfilled because workers who want a job simply don't have the necessary skills.

Meanwhile, what can you do if you're not in the state of Tennessee and the governor's plan doesn't get support?

Getting a college degree doesn't have to break the bank. I have another new way for you to cut the cost in half and still get the degree you want from a traditional 4-year college.

I've long talked about cutting college costs by doing your first 2 years at a community and then transferring to 4-year school that you plan to graduate from.

Now a new program called AmericanHonors.org takes it a step further. They will guarantee your admission to big name schools if you do the required coursework and maintain your grade point average.

Schools like Auburn, the University of Arizona, and George Mason have partnered with American Honors to extend this offer to students, according to The Kansas City Star.

Several other schools participate in the American Honors curriculum program, but don't necessarily guarantee admission. Those schools include Amherst, DePauw University, George Washington University, Middlebury College, Occidental, Ohio State, and UCLA.

The cost to go the American Honors route is about $3,000 a semester in tuition and fees. While that is a bit more than community college, having that added layer of a big name school guaranteeing your admission down the road is nice.

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