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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Democrats are exploring options after ditching free community college plan

Pamelina Williams, 22, a student at the Milwaukee Tech College in Wisconsin, said she would like to move to a four-year college but isn’t sure she can afford it. Avoiding tuition fees for now would make her “more inclined” to continue her education, she said.

“It would be much easier for me to do that,” said Ms. Williams of Rise, an organization that promotes free community colleges.

A recent assessment by the National Research Center for Student Information Sharing found that community colleges were hit hardest of all tertiary institutions, with student enrollment down 9.5% this spring. More than 65 percent of the total number of students enrolled in undergraduate studies came from local colleges in the spring, according to the report.

Celeste K. Carruthers, an adjunct professor of economics at the University of Tennessee, said a study of community colleges found that dropping out of school was likely to increase enrollment as well as wages for people who graduate.

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Dr. Carruthers and her colleagues tracked the performance of students who were eligible for the Knox Achieves program, which provided free public education to any high school graduate in Knox County, Tennessee, and found that eligibility resulted in higher completion rates. learning. two-year community colleges. This also led to a significant increase in wages in the seven years after graduation, according to the study.

Riley Acton, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Miami Ohio, who studies community colleges, said dropping out across all majors would make it easier for students to decide to go to community college. Many face barriers when seeking financial assistance due to the complexity of the process.

“It is not always immediately clear to students that yes, this is the declared tuition fee, but if you complete these forms and apply for these programs, this rate may be reduced,” said Dr. Acton.

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