University of Tennessee - Knoxville

University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus (Photo: University of Tennessee)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The University of Tennessee will soon begin providing free tuition to Tennessee residents starting in the fall of 2020.

Interim university President Randy Boyd announced Thursday that tuition and fees will be covered for students with household incomes under $50,000 a year.

Boyd said: "This isn't a school just for the wealthy or the elite. This is a school for everyone."

Qualifying students will be matched with volunteer mentors and need to complete service-learning hours. Both incoming students and those already enrolled in 2020 will be eligible.

Tennessee five years ago became the first state to make community college tuition-free for new high school graduates. It later expanded that program to allow older adults. State commitments have enabled 46 percent of UT students to graduate without debt.

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