Home > News > Free College: A promising innovation for promoting educational attainment?

More News

SNF Ithaca Initiative Hosts National Civil Discourse Summit

Biden School SNF Ithaca Initiative Hosts National Civil Discourse Summit

On October 22, 2021, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Ithaca Initiative of the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration convened a first-of-its-kind national summit of scholars at the University of Delaware.
 
Dean Aristigueta Recent Presentations fall 2021

Dean Maria Aristigueta's Fall 2021 Presentations

​Maria Aristigueta, dean of the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration, has presented at several national and international meetings in recent weeks.
 
2021 Biden School Award Winners

Biden School Award Winners 2021

Congratulations to the students honored with 2021 awards, prizes, and internships from the Biden School.
 
CONNECT
FacebookTwitterMake a GiftEmailStay Informed
Donate to CHADCenter for Historic Architecture and Design (CHAD)
twitterfacebookflickrIPA PodcastMake a Gift

Free College: A promising innovation for promoting educational attainment?

Image Picker for Section 0
Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion feature turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

by Laura W. Perna, Executive Director, Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy, University of Pennsylvania

In addition to publications co-authored with Elaine Leigh (see embedded links), this blog also draws on a forthcoming paper with Edward Smith, Improving Research-Based Knowledge of College Promise Programs, to be published by the American Educational Research Association.

 

With higher education comes numerous benefits. Individuals with a college education average higher earnings, higher rates of employment, lower rates of unemployment, longer lives, and better health. The benefits of higher education are realized not just by individual participants -- society also benefits. With higher rates of college completion come a higher tax base, less reliance on social welfare programs, lower rates of crime, and greater civic engagement. 

To ensure a growing and thriving middle class, we must not only raise the educational attainment of the nation's population. We must also reduce the differences in attainment that persist across groups. College enrollment and completion rates continue to be lower for people from lower-income families, people who are first in their families to attend college, and people from racial/ethnic minoritized groups. A primary reason for these persisting differences is that the resources that are available to promote college opportunity and success vary dramatically based on the places that people live and the schools they attend.

One potentially promising innovative approach for increasing college attainment for people in particular places is "free college."  Also known as free tuition and college promise programs, free college programs have been emerging across the United States, especially over the past few years. At least ten candidates for governor in 2018 had "free college" as part of their campaign platforms.

Free college programs take many forms, and include programs that are being created by states (e.g., Tennessee Promise), communities (e.g., Kalamazoo Promise), and individual community colleges (e.g., Ventura Promise). Some programs offer a financial award only to students with financial need or who meet academic requirements, while others offer an award to all who live in a designated community or graduate from specified high schools.

Are free college programs a promising approach to improving higher education opportunity and outcomes? Fully addressing this question will require more time, as many programs are just beginning.  But as programs are being considered and implemented now is the time to consider the ideal ways to design and implement a program so as to maximize the positive impacts and minimize the potential unintended consequences.

Particularly important is considering such questions as:

  • Does the program address the financial barriers to college attendance for people who would not attend college without the program?
  • Does the program provide a clear and persuasive message that attending college is a realistic option?
  • Does it encourage students to become better academically prepared for college because they believe they will be able to afford the costs of attending?
  • Do the colleges and universities that students attend with the promise award have the resources to help students complete their programs?
  • Do programs that encourage enrollment in a community college also help students transfer to a four-year college without loss of credit?
  • Is the program financially and politically sustainable?

The answers to these questions will determine who benefits from a free college program -- and who does not and whether free college is a promising approach to ensuring that all have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from higher education.

 


DISCLAIMER

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of Vice President Biden, the Biden Institute or the University of Delaware. 

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion feature turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion feature turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion feature turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion feature turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion feature turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion feature turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion feature turned on, click to turn off.

Image Rendition

Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.

Media Size

Cycle through size options for this image or video.

Original
50%
66%
100%
Fixed Portrait 1
Fixed Portrait 2
Cancel
Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

Insert Image

Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.

Insert Video

Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.

Remove Image

Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.

Remove Video

Remove the video from the media panel.

Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion feature turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

 

 
Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion feature turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

 

 
Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Move Down

Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion feature turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

 

 
Move Up

Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.

Code Cleaner

Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.

Accordion is OFF

Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.

Accordion is ON

Accordion feature turned on, click to turn off.

Media Right/Left-Align

Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.

 

 
News Story Supporting Images and Text
Used in the Home Page News Listing and for the News Rollup Page
To ensure a growing and thriving middle class, we must not only raise the educational attainment of the nation's population. We must also reduce the differences in attainment that persist across groups.
9/9/2019
Page Settings and MetaData:
(Not Shown on the Page)
Page Settings
Free College A promising innovation for promoting educational attainment
No
 
 
MetaData for Search Engine Optimization
Free College: A promising innovation for promoting educational attainment?
Biden Challenge, Biden School, Biden Institute, Joe Biden, Middle Class, University of Delaware, UD, labor, Laura W. Perna, Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy, University of Pennsylvania