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

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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