An Open Letter to 2016 College Graduates

Posted by Maica Pichler on May 11, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Dear 2016 Graduate,

Congratulations!  As you enter the workforce, your friends at the Campaign for Free College Tuition would like to share with you some good – and some not so good news.  First and foremost, your college degree is not only a proud achievement for you and your family, it is worth about $830,000 over a high school diploma and is still the most reliable pathway to the middle class or higher.  While we all have struggled at some time during our careers – and you will too – a college education has opened doors and changed our lives for the better.

Unfortunately, you and your classmates will not only be leaving college with wonderful memories and an engraved diploma, but with a record level of debt as well.  According to financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz, 2016 college graduates will be on average $37,173 in debt, an increase of six percent from last year.  A recently released College Affordability Diagnosis states “even in the best-performing states, college is less affordable than it was in 2008.”  The Diagnosis also paints a sobering picture of debt often being the only option for low- and middle-income students seeking to enroll full-time in postsecondary education.

We are sure you – or your friends – can share stories on how student debt will impact your (or their) post-college life.  If those experiences convince you that the way we are currently financing higher education is untenable, we hope you that will join our cause – or redouble your efforts – to make college tuition free.  

As you can read elsewhere on this website, from the Northwest Ordinance in the 18th Century to the GI Bill after World War II, and more recently the Post-9/11 GI Bill, our nation has historically made an ever expanding commitment to provide each new generation free and universal access to the education the country needed them to have for our success.  Unfortunately for your generation, this is no longer the case.   

Please download CFCT’s Resource Kit and share the documents will your elected officials, as well as family and friends.  We are building a historic inter-generational alliance to educate policy makers about why we need to make this change, but need you and other recent college graduates to lend your voice to the ongoing community, state and federal efforts to make college tuition free.   

We wish you much success in your career and all of your personal endeavors!


The CFCT Team -- Morley, Brian and Norma  


We can't do this alone!

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.

The Campaign for Free College Tuition is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established in the State of Washington in 2014 to educate parents, students, the higher education community, policy makers and taxpayers about efforts needed to fundamentally reform our nation’s system for financing higher education. This website and CFCT’s educational outreach activities are made possible through generous individual and foundation support.