Free College Summit 2015

Posted by Maica Pichler on February 06, 2015 at 7:29 AM

On a snowy day in late January, higher education community leaders, millennial group representatives and others committed to making college tuition free, convened in Washington, DC, for the Campaign for Free College Tuition’s first ever Free College Summit.  After opening remarks by U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell and former Governors James Blanchard and Michael Castle, participants discussed a wide range of dimensions of the free tuition concept and were given an extensive opportunity to express, as expected, many different points of view on those topics.  Most, if not all, of the attendees however indicated they have some interest in building a coalition to support free community colleges in some fashion.

Accordingly, the group will reassemble in mid-March to further these discussions and consider follow on steps to determine whether a coalition can be built and, if so, around what set of principles and advocacy strategy.  In the interim, five taskforces were created to take a deeper dive into various areas, including:  


  • How to pay for free community college tuition?unnamed.jpg
  • What should be the requirement for states to participate in a federal initiative to make community colleges tuition free?
  • What performance metrics should be used or required to gauge institutional effectiveness?
  • What can be done to address the non-tuition costs of college attendance?
  • What are the remediation, mentoring and other non-monetary elements needed to effect the cultural change required to increase both college access and completion?  


When my colleagues and I started working on this issue over two years ago, many laughed at us.  They are laughing no longer. Creating Promise Programs across the country, at every level and for every public institution of higher education is vital to expanding our nation’s tradition of universal and free education in the 21st Century. I am hoping – in part due to the work of Summit participants and in larger part due to individuals like yourself working in their communities and states – we can all work together to make that happen.


Please email us any and all ideas that you may have in order to make college tuition free a reality in all 50 states.     

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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.