The Tennessee Promise Scholarship Act of 2014 sailed through the state House of Representatives by a vote of 87-8 Tuesday evening and is now awaiting Gov. Bill Haslam's signature.
The bill, the first of its kind in the U.S., will rework the educational landscape of Tennessee.
The scholarship, unveiled by Haslam at his State of the State address on Feb. 3, will provide two-and-a-half years of free tuition at any qualifying post-secondary institution for the purpose of attaining an associate's degree or two-year technical certificate.
The scholarship is targeting recent high school graduates who may not otherwise pursue a post-secondary education.
Only students that attend an institution offering two-year programs will be eligible to apply.
The law is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning it will only cover tuition after other financial aid, such as need-based scholarships and Pell grants, have been applied.
The "Promise" is estimated to have a yearly cost of $34 million, and will be funded primarily through a one-time transfer of $300 million in excess lottery fund reserves – in addition to a $47 million endowment created by the General Assembly in 2013.