The Cons Of Free College Tuition
Few colleges offer free tuition to all students, which means your options for schools may be more limited. A lot of these colleges are small, private schools, many of which are religion-based. You may want to consider whether this is an environment you would enjoy for up to four years.
Because there are so few schools offering free tuition, attending school may require you to move further away from home. Depending on the student, this could be a pro or con.
Some schools have certain requirements for those who attend and/or receive free tuition, such as participating in a work program or living on campus.
Before you apply to any of the following schools, think about whether free college tuition is worth the trade-offs of attending a certain type of school, meeting specific requirements, or potentially moving far away from your family. To help, here are some high-level overviews of a few of those schools.
College Payment Options For All
The majority of students nationwide wont have access to free college programs, at least not yet. Heres how to pay for college, with or without tuition-free benefits.
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Start by filling out and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA. Wait to receive your financial aid award letter, which will detail any federal grants, scholarships and work-study programs you qualify for and what federal student loans are available to you.
You dont have to take the full loan amount offered to you, especially if you can pay remaining costs through a combination of other scholarships, grants and savings. If you do take on federal loans, accept subsidized loans before unsubsidized loans because you dont have to pay interest that accrues on subsidized loans while youre still enrolled.
If you have other costs left, consider private student loans. These loans dont offer as many protections, loan forgiveness opportunities and repayment plans as federal loans do, and they tend to carry higher interest rates. If you choose this option, shop around and compare private loan offerings.
Finally, estimate what your loan payments will be after you graduate. A student loan calculator can show you how much you may owe each month on a loan. If you know what you owe, youll be ahead of the game when you have to start paying them back.
How Might The Government Pay For Free Public College
Technically, free college isn’t really free. Someone does have to pay for it. In the case of public college, that means taxpayers. But some economists believe that every American who wants to could go to college for free if the federal and state governments made a few reasonable changes. They don’t see the concept as a fantasy. They see it as a very realistic option. Some of the ideas that they’ve put forward include:
- Closing corporate tax loopholes that allow companies to legally avoid paying their full share of taxes
- Increasing the tax rates for America’s wealthiest millionaires and billionaires
- Implementing new taxes on speculative Wall Street transactions
- Diverting most of the public money currently spent on student financial aid toward making all public colleges and universities tuition-free instead
- Cracking down on wasteful government spending
If you only count the money doled out in federal grants, it costs about $2.8 billion each year to make college tuition-free for over 585,000 low-income students at public colleges and universities in the U.S. . However, grants alone are often not enough to cover all of a student’s fees and expenses. So the federal government also offers work-study programs as well as subsidized and unsubsidized student loans, which can sometimes be difficult to repay.
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How To Pay For College Using Multiple Strategies
You might have asked teachers, counselors and admissions officers about how to pay for college only to get a different answer each time. Thats partly because there are a lot of different answers.
And chances are, with the rising cost of college, youll need to use more than one tactic to pay for school. Many students fund their undergraduate education by attending low-cost schools and finding scholarships, federal and private student loans and part-time work.
Ensure you make the right school choice, tap savings and seek out gift aid before all else. Then try to cut expenses and ramp up income before you resort to borrowing. Work your way down our list of 16 strategies, ensuring that you combine the best of each of them before taking on debt.
Andrew Pentis and Christina Majaski contributed to this report.
Biden Adopts Major Component Of Sanders Platform
A review of the archived pages and the current version of Mr. Bidens education plan reveals one significant change to his agenda. In March, Mr. Biden adopted part of Senator Bernie Sanders platform on education. Specifically, he added tuition-free public college and universities to all families with incomes below $125,000. This change comes directly from part of Sen. Sanders College for All Act of 2017.
Heres the text of the addition from Mr. Bidens website:
Make public colleges and universities tuition-free for all families with incomes below $125,000. Biden has long said that when it comes to public education in America, were starting too late and ending too soon and that if we were building the public education system in America today it would extend from pre-k, starting with 3 and 4 year olds through ensuring 16 years of education is affordable. Biden has added to his education beyond high school agenda by adopting Senator Sanders proposal to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for all students whose family incomes are below $125,000. This proposal, part of Senator Sanders and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapals College for All Act of 2017, will help roughly 8 out of every 10 families.
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Foster Or Adopted Children
Adopted or current or former foster students may qualify for free tuition programs. The North American Council on Adoptable Children offers guidance for learners who may qualify. The website lists federal and state programs that help foster students find financial aid, tuition waivers, and scholarships.
Organizations like the National Foster Parent Association and Foster Care to Success give scholarships and grants to qualifying applicants. Scholarships360 also lists scholarships for adoptees. The Child Welfare Information Gateway features educational assistance information for former foster children, adoptees, and their families. Many schools offer institutional scholarships to adoptees or foster students.
States With Free College Programs
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Several state programs offer free tuition for two-year and four-year programs. But free tuition doesnt equal free college.
Students who attend tuition-free schools often still need to cover costs such as fees, room and board and transportation. You can pay using a combination of savings, grants, scholarships and work-study. If needed, student loans can be used for these and other living expenses as well.
If you plan to take out loans, max out federal loans by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, before turning to private student loans, since the latter come with higher interest rates and dont offer certain protections or loan forgiveness opportunities. Always shop around to compare offers before taking out a private student loan.
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Ask Your School For Additional Funding
Once youve settled on your school of choice, dont necessarily settle on the initial financial aid award package.
It may behoove your family to contact your campus financial aid office and ask for more support. According to experts, there are three occasions when you could successfully negotiate your aid package:
If you receive aid packages from multiple schools, compare them side by side to confirm which offer is the most generous.
What The Us Can Learn From Free College In Chile
One argument against a national free college program, though, is that a patchwork of state and local programs already make college free or very close to free.
Tennessee Promise is a statewide free college program in that state, and there are free college programs in cities like Dallas and Kalamazoo, Mich. And while existing financial aid scholarships can end up covering community college tuition which is often very affordable the process is often confusing to students and families.
“The problem with the system we have now is that whether you have a tuition-free path to college or not just depends on the accident of geography,” says Michelle Miller-Adams, a senior researcher at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and a professor at Grand Valley State University in Michigan who studies free college programs.
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Why You Can Trust Bankrate
Founded in 1976, Bankrate has a long track record of helping people make smart financial choices. Weve maintained this reputation for over four decades by demystifying the financial decision-making process and giving people confidence in which actions to take next.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that were putting your interests first. All of our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts, who ensure everything we publish is objective, accurate and trustworthy.
Our loans reporters and editors focus on the points consumers care about most the different types of lending options, the best rates, the best lenders, how to pay off debt and more so you can feel confident when investing your money.
Democrats Unveil Plan For Tuition
As President Biden weighs executive action to cancel as much as $50,000 in student loans for each borrower, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington are introducing new legislation Wednesday they say would help address the soaring cost of higher education.
If passed, the College for All Act would make community colleges and trade schools tuition-free for all students. It would also make public four-year colleges and universities as well as public nonprofit minority-serving institutions such as historically Black colleges and universities tuition-free for all students from families earning less than $125,000 a year.
“If we are going to have the kind of standard of living that the American people deserve, we need to have the best educated workforce in the world,” said Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, in a statement. “It is absolutely unacceptable that hundreds of thousands of bright young Americans do not get a higher education each year, not because they are unqualified, but because their family does not have enough money.”
The new proposal would double the maximum federal Pell grant to $12,990, up from the current $6,495, and allow students to use the money to cover other college-related costs like housing and books. The grant amount would also be tied to inflation and expanded to eligible Dreamers, people who were brought illegally to the U.S. as children.
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Schools That Offer Free Or Reduced Income
These schools offer varying amounts of tuition assistance depending on your familys income level. Based on the information a student provides on the yearly Free Application for Federal Student Aid , schools take into account both parent contributions and student contributions to determine financial need.
Offers of free tuition may sometimes mean that the parent contribution is equal to zero, but there may still be an expected student contribution. If accepted to these schools, heres what can currently be expected:
Is It Better To Go To Community College First Then Transfer
Whether you choose to do community college before going to a four-year college depends upon your overall plan for higher education. Community colleges cost a lot less than a traditional four-year college, and also offer the flexibility to work while studying.
The average annual cost of tuition and fees for a public two-year college is $3,440 for in-district students. However, the average annual cost for a public four-year college is $9,410 for in-state students and $23,890 for out-of-state students, according to the College Board.
Another big reason for choosing community colleges over four-year university programs is their less-strict admission criteria, with many having open admission policies. This means that any person who graduates from high school and applies will generally be accepted.
On the other hand, if you want to have a more comprehensive and well-rounded learning experience with on-campus housing and dining facilities, athletic programs, and student clubs/organizations, then four-year university education may suit you better.
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Can I Get Free Tuition At An Ivy League School
Yes. Some Ivy League schools offer free college tuition for qualified students, as well as other useful financial aid assistance to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Other Ivy League schools have programs that greatly reduce tuition costs.
For example, Cornell University offers grant aid that students can use alongside other federal aid and loans to reduce or completely eliminate the cost of attendance.
Younger Generations Wont Know How To Handle Finances
College is full of learning experiences, one of which is learning how to create a budget to save money. College loans are often the first major financial dealing that people work with. Paying them off in a timely manner proves you know how to budget your money, skills people use again and again when buying cars or houses. Without having to pay for school, that experience wont exist. That might be trouble down the road for buying that house or car.
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Should College Be Free: What About Private Institutions
If all public colleges and universities are made tuition-free, we could see the decline of private vs. public schools. Since these schools rely on tuition, endowments, and alumni donations for a good portion of their funding, competing with free public schools could force many private schools to close. This would reduce the amounts of job opportunities for professors and could result in the death of many fantastic programs.
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Do Community Colleges Offer Bachelor Degrees
Yes. In the US, 23 states allow community colleges to offer a bachelors degree. On the list are Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
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Community College Free Tuition
Program:California College Promise Grant
What it is: A program providing free community college for one year to all California residents. Its a first-dollar program, unlike all other state free tuition programs, which means it covers tuition before any other financial aid is awarded. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law on October 13, 2017.
Who qualifies: California residents who are first-time college students. Students must submit the FAFSA or a California Dream Act application to qualify.
Caveats: Students must be enrolled full time, meaning 12 or more semester units or the equivalent. The program is available for only one academic year.
What it is: A scholarship program that covers tuition for full-time students for two-year programs at University of Delaware for its Associate of Arts degree program or any program at Delaware Technical Community College.
Who qualifies: High school graduates in Delaware. Undocumented students may apply. Students must be accepted at one of two participating schools. Students must submit a FAFSA to be eligible. Students with the most financial need are given priority.
Program: Hawaii Promise Scholarship
What it is: A last-dollar need-based scholarship to attend University of Hawaii Community Colleges. It launched in fall 2017.
Program: A+ Scholarship Program
Program:Montana Promise Act
Program:Nevada Promise Scholarship
Have Your Employer Pick Up The Costs
There are loads of companies that will pick up your college tab, including Disney, Starbucks and Papa Johns. Many others offer some form of tuition reimbursement up to a certain amount.
Even lesser-known companies might pay your way through college. Ask your employer if theyre willing to provide tuition reimbursement or pay for costs up to a certain amount to help offset your total college costs. Your employer is investing in your education while youre working to better yourself potentially for that company. Plus, up to $5,250 in tuition reimbursement each year is tax-free for both employees and employers.
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