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.”