It’s amazing how much interest you get when you offer something of value for free, isn’t it?

Inside Higher Ed reports:

Tens of Thousands of Adults Line Up for Free College in Tennessee

In the weeks after Tennessee started accepting applications for its tuition-free program for adult students last February, Kim Bare and her family began having discussions about going to college.

Her husband, Jim, had gone to college on and off over the years but never completed. The same was true for their daughter, Jessica Austin, and son-in-law, Michael Austin. Despite wanting to go to college, Kim was never able to go because of family and work responsibilities.

Although there were many conversations about going to college, Michael Austin made the first move: applying for the tuition-free program called Tennessee Reconnect at Volunteer State Community College.

“After Michael did his application, he was telling us how easy it was,” said Kim Bare, 51, of Hickman, Tenn. “We had all been talking and my kids had been encouraging me.”

So the Bares and their daughter decided to visit Vol State and check out the program.

By the time they finished meeting with college officials, all three had applied for the Reconnect program. They will be starting classes together next week.

“Vol State is making such strides in accommodating nontraditional students,” said Kim Bare, who will be taking online classes as a pre-law major while her husband majors in history. “I’m excited to see how it plays out.”

The Bares and the Austins are just four of the tens of thousands of adults in the state that have signed on to the Reconnect program in just a few months.

State officials had initially anticipated 8,000 adult learners to apply for the program, which expanded the popular tuition-free Tennessee Promise. But a week before the start of the new college semester, more than 30,000 adults had applied for the scholarship according to state education officials.