The Promise of Free College

It’s fair to say that anytime the word “free” is attached to another word, or perhaps even standing alone, there are at least two immediate thoughts that surface.

 1. Intrigue.

2. Skepticism.

There is a plethora of “free” two-step thought process examples, from as simple as free lunch, which on-campus freshmen are always intrigued by, then later, are skeptical about signing over their emails to the mind-bogglingly large campus Christian org. To as complex as Free College, which has intrigued a nation of young people so much, that they started to “Feel the Bern” more than anyone could’ve anticipated from a gruff yet adorable New York Jew.

So is free college a promise that can be kept? The simple answer is yes. The more realistic answer is yes, but…(insert valid and/or totally absurd excuse here).

The important thing to know is that some states already have tried and succeeded a free community college program, such as Tennessee and Oregon. Most recently, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo proposed a plan for free tuition at state colleges for lower to middle income families.

This proposal, called the Excelsior Scholarship program, would make attending any two- or four-year state school, starting fall 2017 free for New York families who earn less than $100,000 annually. This plan, which is still yet to be approved by lawmakers, would be phased in over a three year period, eventually extending to families with an annual income of $125,000.

If approved, more than 940,000 New York households with college-age children would qualify for the tuition-free scholarship.

Gov. Cuomo’s proposal has already stirred up a mass of opinions, predictions and rationalizing, which I urge readers to read and follow as this story progresses. After all, isn’t your “free” two-step process already in motion?

Suggested Reading:

NPR. Is Free College Really Free?

CBS News. Free College Q&A.

The Atlantic. The Free-College Dream Didn’t End With Trump’s Election.



About Shelby Newallis

Ciao, there. I'm Shelby, your classic recent-ish grad stereotype trying to figure out how to make it in Los Angeles. By day, I'm a Special Education Teacher and by night, I'm a TV serialist, culinary enthusiast, writer/editor. When I'm not planning my next trip, I'm either wikipedia-ing random celebrities, trying to figure out which podcasts are cool or researching new happy hour spots. Intrigued? Check out my website,