Tennessee officials have been working this week to promote the state's new free tuition plans. One program is designed not only to boost college enrollment. It might also help get people into the military.
Members of the Tennessee National Guard previously received up to two years of free education at a state community college, which is now basically offered to all Tennessee residents. The so-called STRONG Act extends the Guard's program to four years at any public university.
The Tennessee Guard's leader, Major General Max Haston, says the benefit will help with recruitment and retention.
"Most of the states that touch us have tuition assistance, so we had young people in Tennessee going and joining the National Guard of other states," he said Thursday at ceremonial signing of the STRONG Act. "This is great for us."
Haston says federal tuition assistance typically doesn't kick in until students have been active for at least a year. Tennessee new law makes them eligible for aid as soon as they join.