Tennessee Offers Free 2-Year College Tuition for All High School Graduates

collegeTennessee lawmakers recently approved a program that would cover tuition and fees at two-year colleges for any high school graduate. The “Tennessee Promise plan” is the first of its kind in the U.S., although reportedly Florida, Mississippi, and Oregon are considering similar plans. It will be interesting to see if it succeeds in making higher education more affordable.

Participants will have to maintain a 2.0 grade point average, attend mandatory meetings, work with a mentor, and perform community service. The program is also “last money in” after other scholarships and grants. I hope that they will also make sure that any credits earned will transfer over to 4-year universities and that the courses are rigorous enough that the students don’t arrive at a significant disadvantage. If successful, this could essentially halve the cost of a in-state Bachelor’s degree, as most students will be able to live at home for the first 2 years as well.

I went to a well-respected public university, and while there got to know several community college transfer students as both an undergrad and graduate student instructor. As a whole, I found them to be much more hard-working and excited about their studies. I don’t have hard numbers but I’d be willing to bet that the junior transfers actually got better grades than those of us who entered as freshman. (Obviously those who got accepted as transfers were a selected group, not representative of all community college students. They also tend to be older, which can help with maturity.)

Free community college may also reduce the significant number of people who enroll at a 4-year university, rack up student loan debt, and don’t finish. According to this Slate article, 20% of those who enroll full-time at a 4-year program don’t finish within 6 years. Community colleges can also have low completion rates, but it is especially awful to have no degree and a big pile of debt.

Also related: We know student loan debt is growing, but now delinquency rates are increasing as well.

Lyft Promotion Credit Codes: Free Ride Credits

lyftappLyft is a smartphone-based ride service that competes with traditional taxis. They are similar to Uber, but Lyft calls their fares “donations” and aggressively recruits casual drivers who can apply directly from their app. (Uber does a similar thing with their UberX service whereas their UberBlack and UberTAXI service employs professional full-time drivers.) Lyft drivers are screened with DMV and background checks, as well as provided $1 million in liability coverage. Riders pay entirely through the smartphone app. Drivers keep 80% of the total fare.

Here is a list of all the cities they serve. Right now Lyft is aggressively expanding and the following promotions are available:

  • Download their iPhone app or Android app first.
  • New users: Get free ride up to $50. Enter code SLICKDEALS in the Settings > Payment > Lyft Credits area. Good for one free ride up to $50. Only works if you have never taken a ride or redeemed a code before. Screenshot. Via SD.
  • They do have a refer-a-friend program, but that will only get you a ride up to $25 and the offer above is currently a better deal.
  • Residents of Pioneer cities get free rides for two weeks. Pioneer cities are places where Lyft is just starting out. If you join the app in a Pioneer city, you’ll automatically get a number of free rides (up to $25 each) valid for the first 2 weeks after you join. Currently, Pioneer is only available in Indianapolis, Minneapolis-St.Paul, Atlanta, Phoenix, Charlotte, Denver, Dallas, Silicon Valley, Baltimore, Orange County, Sacramento, Houston and Columbus for a limited time. (I think Cincinnati, OH, Detroit, MI, Tampa, FL, and Tucson, AZ also qualify.) Details here. Stackable with $50 promo above.

I also just got an e-mail that there is only 3 days left to get free $20 credit with Uber via referral. After 4/25, supposedly it’ll be back to $10. It is pretty neat to summon a ride from your smartphone and track it by GPS as it gets closer to you.

Kayak.com Airfare Price Prediction Tool: Don’t Bother

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In 2007 I wrote about a site called Farecast.com that used past data to offer a prediction on whether airfares would rise or fall in the future. I even used it to book tickets a couple times. It was soon bought and absorbed by Bing Travel … [Read the rest]

Retirement Portfolio Spending Strategy – Withdrawal Order Flowchart

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According to research from the Vanguard Group, another area where a skilled financial advisor is supposed to able to add value is helping retirees manage withdrawals from their portfolios in order to minimize taxes. According to their … [Read the rest]

How Good Portfolio Management Can Improve Real-World Returns

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Vanguard has released a research paper called Putting a value on your value: Quantifying Vanguard Advisor's Alpha, which provides the data and methodology behind its previous statement that a good financial advisor should be able to affect the … [Read the rest]

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card – Limited Time Offer

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Last update: Offer expires Friday, 4/18/14. Citi has a new limited-time promotion for its Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card. The sign-up bonus has been improved by 10,000 points and a $50 statement credit over their standard offer. This off … [Read the rest]

Savings I-Bonds May 2014 Interest Rate Update: 1.83% or Higher

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Since inflation-linked savings bonds ("I bonds") are based on CPI numbers announced two weeks earlier, we can make predictions about upcoming savings bond rates before their official announcement. This also allows us the opportunity to know exactly … [Read the rest]

Employer Health Insurance Wellness Programs: Helpful Feature or Profit Center?

Like many other folks, I have the majority of my health insurance premiums paid by my employer. I appreciate this and value it as part of my "total compensation" (a fact that they keep reminding me about). My employer and health insurance … [Read the rest]

Target Mobile Coupon Text Codes: $10 off $50 in Food Purchases & More

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Attention Target shoppers... Target is offering some special coupons if you text specific messages to them at 827438 (TARGET). They'll reply with a link to a unique coupon code that you just show the cashier on your smartphone. This week there is a … [Read the rest]

Daycare Costs vs. In-State College Tuition

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There are many articles about rising college tuitions and how to best save for college. But according a recent study, in 31 states the annual cost of day care for an infant exceeds the average cost of in-state tuition and fees at public colleges. … [Read the rest]

Vanguard Managed Payout Funds and Safe Withdrawal Rate Strategy

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A key component of retirement planning is figuring out how to draw an income from all that money you've invested. "Create your own paycheck." The trick is figuring out how to take a stable amount out every year without running out of money. This … [Read the rest]

Free PDF of Rich Dad Poor Dad Book

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Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter is probably one of the most controversial best-selling personal finance books out there. Some people love it, others hate it. I am bringing this up because until 4/13 you can download a PDF … [Read the rest]