Century Foundation Releases Report on Estimating the Real Cost of Community College

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Century Foundation Releases Report on Estimating the Real Cost of Community College

Community colleges in the United States play a critical role in promoting social mobility. This is especially the case for first-generation college students, as well as for non-traditional students and career-transitioning adults. Yet, access to equitable, high-quality two-year public colleges remains largely dependent on state- and county-level resources and economic contexts. Individuals have vastly different abilities to pay to advance their education and training, and as things stand, those with the fewest personal resources may be the ones who accrue the greatest benefit from a community college education. Furthermore, community colleges serving those with the greatest needs are likely to be situated in counties and states with the least fiscal capacity to support high-quality programs and services.

State policymakers have begun taking action on the issue of promoting equitable access to higher education with a recent push to extend free public education from the elementary and secondary level to two-year public colleges. For example, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam approved a plan which would expand on that state’s Promise Scholarship model, which offers high school graduates tuition-free access to two-year public colleges. The planned expansion will broaden access to any Tennessee resident who does not already have a college education1. In New York, Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers reached a deal to make public two- and four-year public institutions in the state free of tuition for resident students from families with income up to $125,000...

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