“Promise” is not just the latest buzzword in higher education policy. Programs that guarantee free college tuition for residents of a community or state are a proven and powerful tool to simultaneously improve high school and college performance among all income and ethnic groups. When young students learn that their educational aspirations need not be limited by the financial circumstances of their family, their desire to succeed increases and the institutions that support them also step up their game to assure student success.
That is why the center of the Campaign for Free College Tuition’s national plan to make all two and four year colleges tuition free is called a National Promise Scholarship. It’s the same reason why President Obama called his plan to make the nation’s community colleges tuition free, America’s College Promise. Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee named his initiative that made all of that state’s community colleges tuition free, the Tennessee Promise, and Oregon named their bill the Oregon Promise, for the very same reason. And it’s the reason why the original promise program in Kalamazoo has been able to enroll its public school students in college at rates greater than their non-public school counterparts. It’s also why dozens of local communities are investing resources in promise programs for their residents.
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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.