Do Free College Programs Actually Hurt the Lowest-Income Students?

Do free college programs actually hurt the lowest income students?

Reported by Inside Higher Ed, studies examining tuition-free college programs in New York and Tennessee demonstrate that even “free college” programs don’t account for all the costs of attendance.

“Last-dollar” programs, meaning those programs that only cover remaining tuition after federal and state aid have been utilized don’t often cover housing, transportation, textbook and other college costs, making college still cost-prohibitive for the lowest income students these programs are specifically designed to help.

The takeaway? While it is exciting to see so many programs focused on solving the financial accessibility issue in higher education, we must make sure we’re hyper-aware of the root problems of affordability before we can design solutions that solve for it.

May you continue to fight the good enrollment growth fight at your institution today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

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Eric Olsen

Eric brings more than a decade of award-winning creative brand development, marketing analytics and higher education experience to Helix Education. Eric is a graduate of Bradley University and earned his MBA at Lewis University.