- Like many states, California is considering the feasibility of creating a Promise program modeled after Tennessee’s that would offer two years of community college tuition-free — and critics abound.
- The Bakersfield Californian reports the state already has one of the lowest community college tuition rates in the country, and those opposed say making it free could reduce the dedication of students who would no longer have any skin in the game.
- Proposals currently being discussed in the state legislature include requiring students to maintain a certain GPA and make consistent progress toward a degree, which might help justify a plan that would come with a $420 million price tag.
President Barack Obama’s final budget proposal of his presidency includes, for the second time, the America’s College Promise program. He suggests setting aside $61 billion over 10 years for the program, which would pay 75% of tuition costs for eligible students and expect states to chip in the remaining 25%. Students could use the funds at community colleges as well as minority-serving four-year institutions. As it was last year, however, the proposal will almost certainly be dropped from the final budget Congress approves.
Oregon is processing applications for students interested in its Promise program, which will enroll its first cohort at the start of the 2016-17 school year. This is the first year of the Tennessee Promise program, which has seen better-than-expected enrollment. As other states follow, the benefits and challenges of such programs will reach more colleges nationwide.