Go West, Young Students: California’s Free Community College Boom
EWA Radio: Episode 114
Ashley Smith of Inside Higher Ed discusses why the Golden State is leading the nation in free community college initiatives. Currently, a quarter of all such programs nationally are located at California institutions. The growth is a mix of grassroots efforts by individual campuses, cities, and community organizations. At the same time, California’s Democratic lawmakers are pushing for a statewide effort to add even more free seats at two-year colleges. Who are the students most benefiting from this boom in opportunity? What evidence is there that these kinds of tuition breaks spur long-term benefits for individuals and communities? Where are similar initiatives gaining ground in other states? And what other hurdles do students face to earning a diploma beyond paying for it?