Last week Rhode Island became the fourth state to offer two years of community college free for state residents, joining New York, Oregon and Tennessee.
The movement to expand this to other states is called “college promise.”
Rhode Island has set aside $2.8 million to pay for the first year of the program. To be eligible, the resident must be a graduating high school senior or have earned their GED in the spring of 2017 and 2018.
Also, the funds are “last-dollar,” meaning that they only kick in after any scholarships or grants have been used. To maintain eligibility, students must be enrolled full time and maintain a 2.5 GPA or better, and need to earn 30 credits a year. They only receive the funds for two years.
Arizona, in our opinion, should not join the college promise movement.
First, the state already struggles to pay for K-12 education. Spreading those tax dollars even more to pay for higher education would severely damage our existing school system.
While we can see the benefits of offering free college, especially at the two-year schools, it would be criminal to divert the scarce funding public education receives now to help with that effort.
Only when our elementary, middle and high schools are properly funded should we consider expanding it.
Our second objection is one of value. When you pay for something,…
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