+
Policy

Free college is becoming a reality across America as 30th state is set to pass funding bill

Free college is becoming a reality across America as 30th state is set to pass funding bill
Photo by Leon Wu on Unsplash

Graduation is easier to celebrate when you're debt-free.

Taking on college-related debt is something that most Americans now expect when graduating high school, especially if their parents are middle class or working poor. There are only so many scholarships to go around and so much you can earn from work study. In fact, the average millennial has just under $40,000 in student loan debt and Americans owe around $1.7 trillion in student loans. Taking on large amounts of debt fresh out of high school has become the norm, but that may be changing soon.

Some states are already offering two free years of college for graduating high school students, and now the 30th state is ready to sign on to do the same. Some states are taking it further than two years of free college and extending it to four years with the option to use the program for trade and technical schools as well. In New Mexico, the Opportunity Scholarship provides free college to its residents and expands that even further to include adult learners, returning students and immigrants regardless of immigration status. That last provision is unheard of, because, contrary to popular belief, undocumented immigrants are not typically able to participate in any sort of government funding or programs due to their lack of social security number and other documentation needed for participation.


The long-term effects of free college could be massive for the average American. It would open up the door for other opportunities that may have otherwise been hindered by holding so much college debt. Homeownership would be easier to come by for graduates due to an inherently lower debt-to-income ratio. It could also allow college graduates to save more money for retirement, a down payment on a house or to open their own business because they wouldn’t have to spend a large portion of their earnings on student loan payments. This could help bridge some of the wealth gap between higher earners and people that went into a lower paying profession such as teaching or social work.

Thirty states signing on to this type of initiative would bring us much closer to having universal college. And this would help give a fighting chance to those who may feel like they started life on the lowest rung. New Mexico’s Higher Education Department Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez told CNBC, “We want to be the national example of how you create a higher education ecosystem system that’s inclusive and accessible, so nobody is turned away from the opportunity to go to college.”

Maine would be state number 30 to allow for free college if the bill passes. Governor Janet Mills has proposed a plan that would make two years of community college free. When speaking to CNBC, Morley Winograd, president and CEO of the Campaign for Free College Tuition, said "If we get to 50, it's mission accomplished." Most are “last dollar” scholarships, which essentially means that any federal aid and private scholarships would be applied first, and the state-funded scholarships would cover the remaining balance.

If all 50 states signed bills similar to the ones in the other 29 states, it would make free college a reality and many families struggling with how to afford to send their children to college would rejoice.

This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

Because you're a girl.

This article originally appeared on 04.14.17


I was promoted a few weeks ago, which was great. I got a lot of nice notes from friends, family, customers, partners, and random strangers, which was exciting.

But it wasn't long until a note came in saying, “Everyone knows you got the position because you're a girl." In spite of having a great week at a great company with great people whom I love, that still stung, because it's not the first time I've heard it.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

But it's got nothing to do with being a "Masterchef" champion, New York Times bestselling author, and acclaimed TV host and cooking instructor.

The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

Keep ReadingShow less
All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gordon Ramsay at play... work.

This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

Keep ReadingShow less