New Report Looks at State and Local Tuition- and Debt-Free College Plans

January 4, 2017

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In the wake of the Republicans reclaiming the White House, tuition-free college at the federal level—a centerpiece of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign—is unlikely to move forward any time soon.

However, state and local tuition- and debt-free college plans are alive and well, as yesterday’s announcement from New York demonstrates: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing to cover tuition costs at state colleges for hundreds of thousands of middle- and low-income students in his state.

A new report released this week looks at 11 plans that reduce or eliminate the cost of tuition or the need to borrow to cover it, including five at the state and two at the local level. The study summarizes the work of the Task Force on Assessing Tuition- and Debt-Free Higher Education, convened last July by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).

Task force members found many common elements between the various plans they studied. Among their findings: Any free college program will likely be built on existing aid programs, so reducing the complexity of the existing aid process should be included in any future plans. The report also suggests better coordination of federal, state, local and private resources.

To download a copy, see the NASFAA website.

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