The Middle Class Can’t Afford College, Either

Posted by Maica Pichler on October 14, 2014 at 7:48 AM

If anyone needed further evidence that the inflationary rise in tuition is out of control, the latest analysis by Richard Fry of the Pew Research Center on the income levels of those borrowing to pay for college should convince any reasonable person that something has to be done about the problem before it eats away at the very foundations of our nation’s economy:

 Share of College Graduates from High-Income Families Who Borrow

Fully half of the students graduating in 2012 who came from high income families had borrowed to pay for part of their higher education, double the rate from 1993. Similarly, 62% of graduates from upper middle income families had borrowed money in 2012, up from only 34% two decades ago. Of course the rate of borrowing among lower middle income and lower income families was even higher, involving as many as three out of four graduates, but the increase among wealthier families meant that for the first time in American history a majority of ALL students from every income group graduating from college in 2012 had to borrow money to pay for an increasingly out of control rise in the price of higher education. What was a problem for just lower income families when Pell Grants were first created has now become a problem for all of America.

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100 Berkeleys

Posted by Maica Pichler on October 01, 2014 at 9:57 AM

This is a guest blog by Bill Deresiewicz, New York Times Bestelling Author of "Excellent Sheep."

“So are you saying that we’re all just, like, really excellent sheep?” Those words came out of the mouth of one of my students at Yale. For me, the last two words summed up the dilemma of elite education as it has come to exist in America. The system manufactures students who are "excellent," yes—great at jumping through the hoops that we hold up—but also "sheep": incapable of finding their own direction in life once they've gotten to the end of the hoops.

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Tennessee Promise Shows How to Make Colleges Tuition Free

Posted by Maica Pichler on September 17, 2014 at 12:33 PM

In an age of partisan gridlock and finger pointing, it is truly refreshing to learn about a politician who isn’t afraid to make bold bill-haslam.jpgpromises and keep them. The Republican Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, took on the established higher education interests in his state to create the Tennessee Promise program that will make its 13 community colleges and 27 trade and technical schools tuition free starting this fall. To do so, he had to tackle critics from the left and right who were unwilling to give up their own ideological talking points to sign up for a program that will help the state close the skills gap that is currently hurting its economic growth.

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Planning for Free College Tuition: DC Summit Goals

Posted by Maica Pichler on September 15, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Our organization has a mission that is ambitious but simple: to make free college tuition a reality for Americans across all fifty states. To that end, supporters met in Washington, DC, on Friday, September 12, 2014, to map out an action plan.

Joining the meeting were the honorable James Blanchard, former governor of Michigan, Michael Castle, former governor of Delaware and Congressman, and advocates such as Cryn Johannsen, expert on the student loan crisis, and RAP President Morley Winograd, author of several ground-breaking books on the millennial generation.

At the meeting, we affirmed our commitment to three goals:

1. By 2018, a majority of Americans agree strongly with the idea that college tuition should be free.

2. By 2018, the federal government has implemented a process to enable interested states to make their public colleges tuition free.

3. By 2018, at least three states are implementing plans to make all of their institutions of higher education tuition free.

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RAP Convenes in DC to Fight for Free College Tuition

Posted by Maica Pichler on September 12, 2014 at 8:19 AM

The fight for free college tuition continues. And the Campaign for Free College Tuition is on the front lines.

That’s why on Friday our leadership team, endorsers, and volunteers will convene a Campaign for Free College Tuition Strategy Summit in Washington DC to review CFCT’s values and mission and to create detailed outlines and action plans of how to execute our strategies.  Our goal is clear: to tame the cost of college tuition and prevent further price increases that put a higher education out of the grasp of the majority of Americans.


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Three Strikes and You're Out

Posted by Maica Pichler on September 03, 2014 at 12:45 PM

 In the latest apologia for the current system for financing higher education, The New Republic’s columnist and science editor, Dodger_Stadium_Video_Boards_2012_Renovation.pngJudith Shulevitz disputes the validity of three key critiques of higher education in order to prove that things aren’t really as bad as critics say they are. She whiffs on all three attempts, however, making the case for fundamental reform of our colleges and universities even stronger. First, she insists that “undergraduate education isn’t broken.” Yes, she concedes “administrators are more resistant to cost-cutting than they ought to be, given the popular outrage about tuition. And states are less willing to fund their own public universities than they used to be.” But she says higher education as an employer is in better shape than “newspapers,” which may provide some comfort to the faculty, but doesn’t even begin to address the criticism of parents of college students who are properly focused on the education their children are supposed to be getting for all the money they are paying for tuition.

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Public Colleges Can Be Tuition Free

Posted by Maica Pichler on August 28, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Originally published on Care2's Education blog

“My lack of a college education hurt my kids. It’s a domino effect. It’s a downward spiral.” - Colleen Garlock


The exciting prospect of going to college is all too often dampened by the reality of crushing debt, leaving many families unable to afford the higher education that is a necessary ticket to a middle class life.

Take, for example, the story of Colleen Garlock. A hard working mother of two, Garlock was unable to afford college, despite graduating as a top student. She’s determined to send her son, Anthony, to college, but they worry about the tremendous debt he’s about to accrue.

That’s why, when she stumbled across a new organization pushing for a far reaching solution to her families’ problem, she signed right up: “We can tell [my daughter] Katie, ‘we can send you to school and we can get you a car, or you can eat something more than ramen, or you can get married, and we can think of retirement.’” The intergenerational, bipartisan coalition, called The Campaign for Free College Tuition, is already making headlines with its bold idea that the federal government should provide “Promise” scholarships to any student accepted to college from a lower or middle income family. Its supporters include former governors, members of Congress and former Clinton administration officials.

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Fix the Problem of College Affordability—Don’t Deny It

Posted by Maica Pichler on August 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Screen_Shot_2014-07-31_at_12.39.22_PM.pngIt is becoming increasingly clear that the higher education establishment is tone deaf on the impact of the escalating price of college tuition.  As a result of their unwillingness to embrace change, for the first time in American  history,  students and their families are now paying half or more of the full cost of college—an 18- to 22-percentage point increase at public four-year institutions over the last decade. The only solution to this growing threat to the American Dream is to make public colleges tuition free. The latest “How America Pays for College” report from Sallie Mae shows that parents belief in the benefits of a college education for their children remains as strong as ever, with 85% of parents surveyed strongly agreeing that it was an investment in their child’s future. The survey found that especially among low-income, Hispanic and African-American families having their child earn a degree was a critical part of the American Dream. Two-thirds of those surveyed felt a degree was more important than ever and 58% were willing to stretch their family’s finances to pay for it.

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From Construction Worker to College Grad

Posted by Maica Pichler on August 15, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Fernando Funes will be interviewing students this year to talk about their tuition debt stories – and what the dream of free college tuition means to them. Here’s his own.

Hell, if it was not for college, I’d probably still be working a brutal, back-breaking, construction job in my hometown of Santa Ana, CA. I’m grateful for the student loans that allowed me to focus on my education at Berkeley... but I’m starting to wonder how my economic future will be affected.

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The Culprits Behind Rising Price of College

Posted by Maica Pichler on August 14, 2014 at 11:05 AM

As of November 2014, Redeeming America's Promise is now named the Campaign for Free College Tuition. American Promise scholarships are now known as National Promise scholarships.

One of the questions we always get when talking about our plan to make public colleges


tuition free is what is behind the rapid rise in tuition rates that scare so many parents. Certainly part of the reason is the decline in state support of their institutions of higher education. As of the end of 2011, the data says  such subsides reached their lowest point in a decade, averaging $6,000 to $7,000 per student at public four year institutions, causing students for the first time to pay a majority of the cost of attending college. In the year since, the list price for tuition and fees increased by about 4 percent at public and private non-profits and by almost 5 percent at public two year colleges according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

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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.