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As the cost of college skyrockets, one school has a radical new plan: a free education.

It's about time we stop saddling students with massive debt, and instead focus on providing affordable education.

As the cost of college skyrockets, one school has a radical new plan: a free education.

Over the past decade, the cost of college has boomed.

At private, four-year colleges, the cost of tuition and fees has risen by nearly 25%. And at public, four-year schools, tuition and fees have risen by more than 40%.

As a result, the amount of debt carried by the average student has risen. Total outstanding student loans now tops $1.2 trillion.

(Yes, trillion — with a "t.")



In a major contrast to how things are handled in the U.S., Germany announced all public universities will be tuition-free.

This is huge. And hey, it almost makes me want to pack up, start brushing up on German, and emigrate.


But did you know some schools offer a way to do this in the U.S.? And without a scholarship.

At Yale and Harvard, students who come from families making less than $65,000 per year can attend school tuition-free.

At Princeton, the school waives tuition for students coming from families with yearly incomes less than $120,000.

Stanford recently made news by expanding its program, waiving tuition fees for students from families making less than $125,000.

In addition, students from families making less than $65,000 per year will receive free room and board.

This comes as the cost of attending the highly touted California university creeps past $60,000 per year.

It's great news for students who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford Stanford. But the school's admissions criteria is extremely selective (accepting around just 5% of applicants).

The school is only able to offer such deep discounts because:

  1. The more financially well-off students' fees help offset the cost of those in need.
  2. And the school's $21 billion endowment fund (compared to the average private-college endowment of around just $26 million).

But what about the rest of us who can't (or don't want to) attend Stanford? What can we do?

Well, at the moment, there are a few ideas being tossed around.

In January, President Obama proposed that all Americans be allowed to attend two years of community college at no cost.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like this is likely to get the approval in Congress needed to become a reality.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed a bill that would have allowed students to refinance their loans at then-current interest rates.

Again, unfortunately, the bill never came up for a vote in the Senate.

More than ever, programs like Stanford's are needed — but for all students.

No matter how financially well-off or challenged people might be, if they want to attend college, they should be able to without having to worry about carrying around a massive debt for the rest of their lives.

Learn more about Stanford's new tuition program in the video below:

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

As it turns out, underdog stories can have cats as the main character.

Purrington Cat Lounge, where "adoptable cats roam freely and await your visit" and patrons can pay a small entry fee for the chance to sip coffee alongside feline friends, boasted legendary adoption rates since its conception in January 2015.


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