Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Shift in Focus

Inside Higher Ed
September 2nd, 2015


Seven months ago free community college was the higher ed policy idea with the most buzz, with everyone from President Obama to families with no college experience talking about the appeal of eliminating the cost of tuition.
Yet movement on two years of free tuition has only happened at the state and institutional level. The national conversation -- particularly in the Democratic presidential race -- has shifted instead to the debt-free movement as concerns over the student loan crisis at four-year public institutions has grown. The bulk of this conversation has shifted from getting more people into higher education, like through community colleges, to the best way to help those coming out of college with as little debt as possible.
But the shift doesn't seem to bother advocates of two-year free community college initiatives, who don't see either idea as divorced from the other.
“I don't think it's as clear-cut a distinction,” said Morley Winograd, president and chief executive officer for the Campaign for Free College Tuition, which is a nonprofit group. “Over all, even though there are lots of differences of opinion about the right way to approach college affordability, the fact that people are embracing and debating how to do something about it is great.”

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