College is increasingly important to
the well-being of individuals and our society. But the opportunity to benefit from
college varies dramatically across groups. College promise programs are emerging
as a strategy potentially to try to help with that. And so a primary goal
of this book is to see, you know, to what extent are these
really innovations that
are going to help move the needle on who goes to college and can we
close some of the gaps across groups in college going. I think it was important to provide
this body of work to showcase what is happening in the
landscape of free tuition, tuition-free and debt-free programs
and how they’ve been used to one, make college more affordable to retain
talent and skills within the communities they serve. And three to increase college going in the communities they serve. So we need to be asking questions
about what is the benefit that’s being provided. How much money actually are low-income
students going to get from these new programs. We should also be asking questions about
the other types of supports that our program provides. So money
matters to college going, but it’s more than that for students to
actually enroll and persist to degree completion. The book offers not only evidence
on potential student outcomes, related to college going
enrollment and degree completion. But it also offers rich context on the
implementation of some of these programs. The book includes attention to a
wide variety of different programs. So we have studies about state
programs like the Tennessee Promise. We have attention to some of the most
common emerging types of programs, which are the single community
college free-tuition program. There’s also a study of the
Milwaukee Degree Project, so a school district-based program. We have a study about the predictors of
why are these programs being created. We showcase the variance in designs, characteristics and funding sources that
are currently present in the college promise landscape, both at
the city and state level. And so I think together these studies
help improve our understanding of several things. They help tell us about the wide variety
of the different approaches that are And they tell us some of the emerging
effects of these different types of models. It’s been interesting to see national
and federal discussions about how to make college more affordable, center
on free tuition, tuition-free, and debt-free concepts. That certainly wasn’t the case
when we started this book. Now we have presidential candidates talking about various different approaches. Clearly we need approaches that are
going to help more people afford to go to college. And so this is one type of initiative
that people are paying attention to. We hope that policy makers, education leaders and researchers use
the evidence and implications offered in this book to responsibly and equitably
implement college promise programs going forward and hopefully ensure an even
stronger future for the students in communities these programs serve.