The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

March 13, 2014

States explore free community college

(Continued)

However, in 2007 a similar proposal by former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen failed in the Tennessee legislature. Moreover, the efforts in both Oregon and Tennessee come after a decade during which both states cut funding for higher education, contributing to tuition hikes.

A study last year by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that states spent 28 percent less per student on higher education in fiscal year 2013 than they did in 2008, and that every state but North Dakota and Wyoming is investing less money in higher education now than before the recession. Oregon cut its higher education funding during that period by 43.6 percent, and tuition rose at both two-year and four-year public colleges in the state. Similarly, Tennessee reduced higher education spending by 30.1 percent, and tuition at its schools also went up.

In Mississippi, a bill for free tuition at community colleges died in committee last week because of funding concerns, but advocates hope the bill can be revived and passed next year.

Six of the state’s 15 community colleges already offer some form of tuition guarantee, meaning that after students have applied for financial aid from federal, state and other sources, county or private funding covers the remainder of the tuition cost, according to Kell Smith, a spokesman for the Mississippi Community College Board.

In Massachusetts, Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick in 2007 also proposed making community college free, although the measure failed.

California suspended tuition at its public colleges in 1960 with its Master Plan for Higher Education. But under fiscal pressures, the community colleges have charged enrollment fees since 1984-85. Tuition and fees at California’s public colleges still remain the lowest in the country.

And in New York City, the City University of New York offered free tuition from 1970 to 1976, when the policy ended under the strain of the city’s fiscal crisis. Even so, between federal and state tuition assistance, nearly half of CUNY’s undergraduate students pay no tuition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Congress racing to finish Congress races to finish veterans, highway bills

    July 31, 2014

  • Target New CEO [Duplicate] Target names Pepsi's Cornell as chairman, CEO MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target has hired Pepsi executive Brian Cornell as its new chairman and CEO as it looks to recover from a huge data breach and troubles in Canada. Cornell replaces interim CEO John Mulligan, who is chief financial officer for the M

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brain wave monitoring is better gauge than using a focus group, study says To predict a large population’s likely response to something — a product, politician or policy — political consultants, marketing gurus and advertising execs have long favored the focus group. Ask a small segment of the target audience what it thinks

    July 31, 2014

  • Argentina slides into default as debt talks fail NEW YORK (AP) — The collapse of talks with U.S. creditors sent Argentina into its second debt default in 13 years and raised questions about what comes next for financial markets and the South American nation's staggering economy. A midnight Wednesd

    July 31, 2014

  • Exchange Bee Researcher [Duplicate] Bee researcher takes aim at central Minnesota park WAITE PARK — Crystal Boyd strained four bees, three flies and one leafhopper from a yellow pan trap, the third of 12 in a transect topping a granite outcrop in Quarry Park Scientific and Natural Area.She popped everything into a labeled, zip-top plas

    July 31, 2014 4 Photos

  • Cinema verite documentarian Robert Drew dies at 90 Filmmaker Robert Drew, a pioneer of the modern documentary who in "Primary" and other movies mastered the intimate, spontaneous style known as cinema verite and schooled a generation of influential directors that included D.A. Pennebaker and Albert M

    July 30, 2014

  • Homeowner killed, another injured in Vegas crime spree LAS VEGAS — A horrific carjacking and home invasion spree ended with two people dead and a woman in critical condition. One victim, Richard Ramos, a 59-year-old father of four, “fought to his death” to protect his wife and children from their attack

    July 30, 2014

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-9 [Duplicate] UPDATE: Suspect in Minnesota officer killing in custody WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Police in Minnesota say a man wanted in the shooting death of an officer is in custody after being shot by police. St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos says 39-year-old Brian Fitch Sr. got out of a minivan firing at

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-3 [Duplicate] Minnesota officer killed making traffic stop WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A police officer in Minnesota was fatally shot Wednesday while making a traffic stop and authorities said they were searching for a suspect. Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick, 47, was shot about 12:20 p.m. after pulli

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Possible suspect caught in Minnesota cop shooting WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A potential suspect in the shooting of a police officer in Minnesota has been captured. Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the officer was killed. Television news footage showed the man being pulled from his vehicle Wednes

    July 30, 2014