Our four step plan for National Promise Scholarships accomplishes this goal while working within the frame of existing federal budgets to ensure that the quality of higher education is not compromised. But to get Congress to pass such legislation will require building a groundswell of support community by community, state by state based on residents experiencing the benefits of free college tuition for their youth.
Map of Promise Communities as of Dec. 2015
Luckily, such experiences already exist and continue to expand. Now we need to accelerate their growth and scale them up in order to reach a tipping point where the entire country demands a transformation of our public education system to include universal, free education from Pre-K through a bachelor’s degree.
Under our plan, the federal government would provide a scholarship to any student enrolled in a public college or university at the level of the average cost of tuition for in state students in that state. States would not be allowed to ask any in state NPS scholar to pay any more for their tuition than this average amount, thereby creating an indirect cost control on the price of tuition which is rising at the fastest rate of any item in a family’s budget.
National Promise Scholarships would be available to any student whose family income is no more than $180,000 (the income level beyond which the current Opportunity Tax Credit for tuition payment ends) and who has demonstrated sufficient levels of high school academic performance to have been accepted for admission at any public institution of higher education.
Supporting evidence: A recent article by Think Progress states "Tuition at all public colleges came to $62.6 billion in 2012. The federal government could take the $69 billion it currently spends helping students cover the cost of college through grants, tax breaks, and work-study funds and instead simply cover tuition at those schools for anyone who wanted to attend. That would give all students of all income backgrounds an affordable option." http://thinkprogress.org/education/2015/04/02/3642085/stanford-free-tuition/