The Policy Research Center (PRC) features research on state and community initiatives to address the problem of college affordability. Strategies that help students enroll and succeed in college are highlighted under Summits on College Affordability and will continue to be a focus as we build this resource. Additionally, the PRC contains CFCT’s national plan to make college tuition free.
We believe college tuition should and can be free, just as it is in increasing numbers of communities across the country and for many students in states like Tennessee and Oregon.
Here's how we'll get it done.
The Campaign for Free College Tuition is happy to provide you with Making Public Colleges Tuition Free: A Briefing Book for State Leaders.
We have designed the briefing book to help state policymakers think through the elements of making college tuition free. Accordingly, it contains advice on funding, building support, drafting policy, and many proven examples of successful programs. Throughout the briefing book CFCT outlines different provisions we believe will produce a return on a state’s investment, which more than justify the establishment of such programs.
This document, however, does not suggest there is only one path states must follow to make their colleges tuition free.
A majority of Americans from all political persuasions support state programs making college tuition free for those academically qualified. The polling conducted by Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) on behalf of the Campaign for Free College Tuition (CFCT) after November’s election indicates that state-level programs to make college tuition free enjoy support in both red and blue states.
The Campaign for Free College Tuition released a report detailing the estimated cost to each state of making their public colleges and universities tuition free. The research authored by Mark Schneider, Vice President and Institute Fellow at the American Institute for Research (AIR) and made possible by a generous grant from the ECMC Foundation, establishes a baseline for state policymakers to discuss appropriations and the eventual return that they might expect on such an investment.
Dr. Michelle Miller-Adams, from the W. E. Upjohn Research Institute and Grand Valley State College and Jennifer Iriti, from the Evaluation for Learning Group at the University of Pittsburgh, have compiled extensive research on the impact of Promise Programs on educational performance at all levels and on economic development in the communities that have started such programs.
Click to expand/explore steps
Federal dollars are redirected to create an National Promise Scholarship (NPS) program that would provide every academically qualified student from a lower or middle income family enough money to pay for tuition at either a two or four year college.
Use Income Based Repayment loans if needed to cover student’s living expenses, repayable based on post-graduation income, and write off portions of principal upon completion of degree program as well as military or community service.
Create incentives for states to do their part to make college affordable by changing funding formulas, controlling costs, and overhauling the delivery of remedial education.
Increase college enrollments and graduation rates by making an early promise to students to cover their costs of attending college, providing them with mentoring and counseling services in college, and creating incentives for colleges to enroll and graduate “First Generation” students.
Want more details?Read the full plan
CFCT has fostered a dialogue on efforts to make college tuition free by hosting Summits on College Affordability across the country.
The results of these discussion continue to guide our discussions with elected officials and other policy makers. More importantly they have solidified CFCT’s leadership in the growing movement to make public colleges tuition-free.
The Campaign for Free College Tuition's Southern regional Summit on College Affordability was held in Nashville on March 30th and included representatives from 10 states – including gubernatorial staff and State Higher Education Executive Officers – anxious to learn about the Tennessee Promise program and other pioneering place-based scholarship programs in the South. We were also glad that former Arkansas Lt. Governor, and current CFCT steering committee member, Bill Halter, was able to join us.
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.