The Campaign for Free Collefe Tuition (CFCT) is a bi-partisan, inter-generational coalition of individuals and groups who believe today's economy requires the country to make higher education affordable for everyone if we are going to have a workforce with the skills needed for us to compete in the global marketplace. Established as a 501c3 non-profit in 2014, CFCT has been at the forefront of the free college tuition movement since its inception.
CFCT evolved from discussions that started in 2013 among a group of former elected officials and policy experts who wanted to make another contribution to America’s future. As we were coming of age, we were forcefully reminded by John F. Kennedy that the responsibility of being born into such a privileged period is a requirement to give back and we saw CFCT as perhaps our last, best chance to respond to his call. The discussions grew to include academicians, Millennial groups and business leaders who were interested in finding the best way to address the challenges of college access, affordability, and attainability.
At the end of our discussions, we made a mutual commitment to create a national public policy that eliminates cost as a barrier to attaining such an education for every American who is academically ready and personally determined to earn a post-secondary degree or certificate. We do not plan to do this alone. A partnership with tomorrow’s leaders and workers, our children and grandchildren, must be forged to convince our elected officials to make the needed changes.
Take a look at our history -- and join the Campaign today.
Early, 2013 A group of seasoned policy experts and former elected officials began discussing how they might collaborate to produce new ideas to spur economic mobility through higher education.
May, 2013 Group convenes first meeting in DC. Several invitees suggest college tuition could be free if we reallocated existing federal expenditures on Higher Education. It becomes one of the proposals the group asks be developed as alternative ideas on how to eliminate cost as a barrier to attending college.
October, 2013 Policy principles and options debated vigorously by ideologically diverse group at George Mason University. Group divides between those arguing for a universal program, ala Social Security, and those wanting to focus reforms on lower income family needs.
January 2014 Inspired by Promise program in Kalamazoo, MI, the discussions ultimately led to a four step plan to make college tuition free on the federal level without raising taxes. As the development of the plan became more specific several of the original members decided against continuing, some because they disagreed with the idea of free tuition and some because their official positions precluded continued support.
February/March 2014 To broaden potential coalition of supporters, Millennial organizations, business leaders, and members of the higher education community are asked to endorse the plan. Some sign on, others encourage us to continue our efforts to make the idea a reality.
April, 2014 Redeeming America’s Promise website is launched focusing on federal plan to make college tuition free. Thousands signal their support.
June 17, 2014
Redeeming America’s Promise officially launches at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.. Former Governors James Blanchard of Michigan, a Democrat, and Michael Castle of Delaware, a Republican, announce their support, symbolizing the underlying bipartisan support of our newly established non-profit.
That evening, the plan is focal point of a discussion at the Bipartisan Policy Center, hosted by Common Sense Action, for hundreds of Congressional interns helping to ensure broad inter-generational interest in our idea.
Summer 2014 Our leadership conducted one-on-one meetings and caucus and committee briefings to educate our nation’s decision makers that free college tuition can become a reality for every family in America tomorrow. The message is simple: There is no need to wait. We have the resources and a plan to make it happen now.
August 2014 The first of two strategy summits is held in Detroit, MI with some of our key supporters. The group decides to expand our efforts beyond the federal government to the state and community levels. In many ways, this returns us to the origins of our discussions that were inspired by the Kalamazoo Promise.
October 2014 The organization reached a milestone of 6,000+ supporters on social media.
November 2014 To crystalize our message, our website is re-launched at www.freecollegenow.org and the name of our non-profit is changed to the Campaign for Free College Tuition. We intend for this site to become the central resource for everyone interested in making America’s public colleges and universities tuition free and welcome your interest in our campaign.
We visited with our hero, Tennessee Governor Haslam (R), who shepherded a “Tennessee Promise” into law earlier this year to make public community and technical colleges tuition free for his state’s high school graduates. The information obtained will allow us to work with other Governors and state officials across America to create similar plans.
We highlighted our community outreach efforts at PromiseNet 2014, a conference for community stakeholders interested in place-based “promise” scholarships. Campaign for Free College Tuition President Morley Winograd was a panelist for the “Partnerships of Promise: Local & National Working Together” session focusing on reaching out to other cities and states considering similar programs.
CFCT's Morley Winograd talked with the New Democrat Coalition about ways to make college tuition free.
January 2015 President Barack Obama came out today in favor of eliminating tuition for community colleges. We applaud the president’s initiative, and believe that it will transform higher education to help countless families achieve the American Dream.
Later this month, We held a three hour candid discussion about the idea of free college tuition with Ted Mitchell, the Under Secretary of Education, and brainstormed ways to improve our bipartisan coalition.
April 2015 CFCT organized a Summit on College Affordability on April 15, 2015 to discuss making postsecondary education more accessible and affordable. The meeting featured remarks by U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell, focused on President Obama’s America’s College Promise proposal. TJ Bliss, Education Program Officer at the Hewlett Foundation, also spoke about the cost of textbooks. Thank you to the Hewlett Foundation who hosted this event at their headquarters in Menlo Park, CA.
Today - Our work has just begun. We need your help to make free college tuition a reality for you and your family. It can be done. It should be done. And with your help, it will be done.
This website and CFCT's educational outreach activities are made possible through generous individual and foundation support.
Our goal is to make higher education a possibility for every American, without regard to their financial circumstances.
We have a lot to do and not much time to do it, so your support is critical for our campaign to succeed. It’s with your investment that we can fundamentally reform how higher education is financed in this country, opening the doors to a more equitable society.
If you agree with our goal, our plan, and the urgency of the problem, we ask that you give what you can to help us write the next chapter in our nation’s history of continuously expanding access to universal, free education.