FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2015
Legislators Urged to Make California’s
Community Colleges Tuition Free
CFCT President Testifies before California Senate Subcommittee
SACRAMENTO, CA – Campaign for Free College Tuition President Morley Winograd urged legislators to make California’s community colleges tuition-free. In testimony before the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education, Winograd stated “I firmly believe -- given the data from Kalamazoo, Tennessee and other promise programs -- that when going to college isn't about income and where you come from, we see attitudes change. It is the single most important thing that we can do, from a public policy perspective, to improve people's lives.”
“The ever-growing sticker prices on college tuition are enough to keep many families from even considering going to college. But when the issue of paying for college is taken off the table the pent up demand from students and their parents for obtaining a college degree becomes quite clear. For example, when Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam made his state’s community and technical colleges tuition free last year, there was a 24.7 percent increase in first-time freshmen enrollment at community colleges.”
He noted that the complexity of the current system fails to provide many low-income students with the support they are entitled to. This is evidenced by study indicating in 2014, 91,984 Californians who were Pell Grant eligible failed to fill out the Federal student aid form, leaving over $37 million dollars on the table that could otherwise have been used to help them pay for college.
Winograd’s testimony also directly addressed defenders of the current financial aid model “who argue that targeting resources to low-income students is the most efficient and most progressive way to distribute ‘the very limited resources’ that exist in higher education.” He indicated that this approach “leaves many student and families stuck in the middle with tuition that is unaffordable and without enough aid to pay for it, leaving them no choice but to take on enormous amounts of student debt or to work so many hours that degree completion becomes unattainable. Furthermore, it hides behind a smokescreen of capacity challenges and budgetary constraints, the true extent to which California is failing to address the needs of California families and our future workforce.”
CFCT 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. We believe free college tuition is a goal that is supported by people of all political persuasions and are proud to have both major parties represented in our leadership.
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.