In this study I deployed quasi-experimental methods to explore the effect of the implementation of a statewide free-college program, Tennessee Promise, on enrollment in postsecondary career and technical education programs. State policymakers implemented the Tennessee Promise, a free-college program for recent high school graduates attending public, two-year institutions, in 2015. As postsecondary attainment in the United States falls short of workforce needs, there has been an increased focus on postsecondary career and technical education credentials and degrees linking workforce needs directly with educational programs (Lumina, 2019; Perkins V, 2019). However, it is currently unknown whether access to statewide free-college funding impacts enrollment in postsecondary career and technical education. In this study, I use federal data to estimate the causal effect of Tennessee Promise on postsecondary career and technical education enrollment. Findings from the analysis show a small but non-significant increase in Tennessee after the implementation of the grant when compared to both the national control group and the contiguous control group. I discuss the implications for research and practice, and how promise programs may be leveraged more effectively moving forward to improve outcomes in postsecondary career and technical education.
Collom, G.D. (2021). A Quasi-Experimental Investigation of Tennessee Promise and Career and Technical Education Postsecondary Enrollment Responses. Postsecondary Education Research Center (PERC).