After scrapping free community college plan, Democrats explore options


Pamelina Williams, 22, a student at Milwaukee Area Technical College in Wisconsin, said she would like to move to a four-year college, but isn’t sure she can afford it. Cutting her tuition fees for now would make her “more inclined” to continue her education, she said.

“It would make it a lot easier for me,” said Ms. Williams, a member of Rise, an organization that advocates for a free community college.

A recent estimate from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that community colleges were the hardest hit among all higher education institutions, with enrollment dropping 9.5% this spring. More than 65 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment losses in the spring occurred at community colleges, according to the report.

Celeste K. Carruthers, associate professor of economics at the University of Tennessee, said research on community colleges has shown that removing tuition fees would most likely increase enrollment, as well as the salaries of those who graduated. diploma.

Dr Carruthers and his colleagues performance monitoring of eligible students to Knox Achieves, a program that offered free community college to any high school graduate in Knox County, Tenn., and found that program eligibility resulted in higher completion rates at community colleges in two years. According to the study, this also led to significantly higher salaries for up to seven years after high school.

Riley Acton, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Miami in Ohio who studied at community colleges, said removing tuition fees at all levels would make it easier for students to decide whether to attend college community. Many face obstacles when applying for financial assistance, given the complexity of the process.

“It’s not always clear to students that yes, this is the advertised tuition rate, but if you fill out these forms and apply to these programs, that rate could be reduced,” Dr Acton said.


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