Forget free tuition, provide more federal support to institutions
- The Brookings Institute outlines an alternative to free college tuition, a formula which would expand college investment from federal resources and lessen the impact on state divestment in higher education.
- Brookings Senior Fellow Matthew Chingos says increased support to institutions, even in the form of small grants for vulnerable student populations, can increase degree completion by 5%. He cites programs in Florida and Wisconsin which awarded between $1,300 and $3,500 to help achieve these gains.
- Some research suggests that institutions serving a high number of students from low-income households receive less investment from public sources, and have poorer post graduate outcomes.
There is likely bipartisan skepticism about how free college tuition would actually be included in a state or federal budget, but there is also universal agreement that college is too expensive and too out of reach for students who, because of geography and poor secondary education exposure, are not ready for a four-year degree program in most cases.
The answers to these problems are not simple, but most leaders can find success in legislative lobbying and private fundraising by selling programs and initiatives which match with regional workforce needs, and make the case for the how supporting low incomes students minimizes future dependence on public resources and increases tax revenues coming from working class adults.
- Brookings Institute Should policymakers make college free or better support institutions?