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Is Free College a Real Possibility? 🎓🏛 

You have probably heard the words “Free College” recently. Although it sounds exciting and it can get a lot of people cheering and clapping in political rallies, it is important to understand what this really means!

Free College Will Not Apply To Private Colleges & Universities

It is important to understand that when candidates propose this, they are not talking about making Harvard, Duke, or any private college free.

People who propose the idea of free college are usually talking about public colleges. In other words, public state universities & community colleges. 

Public Colleges and Universities

Public Colleges and Universities

As we mentioned when we talked about the difference between private and public institutions, public universities receive funds from the state.

It is also important to keep in mind that these public colleges are also receive funding from tuition revenue.

Public Colleges and Tuition Revenue

Public Colleges and Tuition Revenue

Therefore, a public state school will generate tuition revenue when students pay for tuition and fees.

If free college was to occur, then , what would happen if students no longer had to pay for tuition and fees?

Paying For College

Paying For College

If colleges no longer received this tuition revenue, then, where they get it from?

One option would be to have the state legislature increase taxes

Another option would be to have colleges tap into both their institutional operating reserves and large endowments to offer grant aid to their students.

As you can see, the Free-College proposal can be very conflicting and expensive.

Free College in the United States

Free College in the United States

Free College is already available in some states

However, this does not mean free college is impossible. 
 
There are actually some states such as New York where they offer free college through both the community college system and the public college system.
 
 
Free College Available for New Yorkers

Free College Available for New Yorkers

 
How does it work?
 
If your parents make less than 125,000 dollars then you would qualify for free tuition in the State of New York.
 
Free College Available for NY Residents

Free College Available for NY Residents

 
There is a catch, this option is only for NY residents and you would have to live and work in New York after graduation for the length of time you participated in the free-tuition program.
 

What are the Effects of Free College?

New York is one of the few states in the country that offer a free college program.

What would happen if a state like Florida began offering free tuition?

Well, let’s take the University of Central Florida as an example. 

UCF is a public state school with an acceptance rate of 43%. 

It is not as competitive as an Ivy League but it is pretty selective.

UCF Acceptance Rate 2019

UCF Acceptance Rate 2019

If 30% of the 180,000 students that graduate high school in Florida every year decided to apply to UCF, 54,000 students would apply per year!

Florida High School Graduates 2019

Florida High School Graduates 2019

Its total undergraduate enrollment is already at 59,000!

What would happen to the acceptance rate?

UCF Total Undergraduates 2019

UCF Total Undergraduates 2019

Well, if free college happened it would be safe to assume UCF would become as competitive as an Ivy League!

Not to mention that other public schools in the state such as UF, FSU and USF would also become more competitive! 

University of Central Florida versus Ivy League Universities

University of Central Florida vs Ivy League Universities

If free college happened it would be safe to assume UCF would become as competitive as an Ivy League.

Free college and Community Colleges

What would happen to community colleges?

Well, if you look at data from NY community colleges, since 2015, community colleges have seen a 10% drop in enrollment–losing more than 23,000 students. 

Free College and Community Colleges

Free College & Community Colleges

Community college is a great way to save money on your first two years of higher education while getting your general education requirements out of the way.

In Texas, a lot of students fulfill their dream of going to the University of Texas by starting their journey at Austin Community College or at another accredited community college.

University of Texas

University of Texas

These students use these 2-year colleges as a stepping-stone to then transfer to the University of Texas.

Not only do they fulfill their academic goals, but they also save tens of thousands of dollars in their first two years.

Community Colleges and University of Texas

Community Colleges & University of Texas

Conclusion

When you hear someone talk about free colleges they are usually talking about public state institutions.

Private Schools Do Not Receive Funds from their Respective State

Private Schools Do Not Receive Funds from their Respective State

Private schools do not receive funds from the state so it would be very hard for these types of colleges to offer free tuition.
 

There are many ways to make college affordable, if you are interested in learning more visit our course to start planning for college now!

 

 

If you have any questions please comment below or email us at contact@bestcollegeaid.com for more personal questions. 

David Cantu

David Cantu

Best College Aid Founder and Instructor

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