A Blueprint for College without Debt
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In the past several years, the movement for tuition-free, debt-free, or otherwise affordable college has swept the country. As of 2018, 16 states and dozens of cities have launched “Promise Programs,” initiatives that in most cases cover tuition and fees for students, primarily at community colleges. These programs are operating within a national debate about the role of the federal government, states, and institutions in guaranteeing that all American citizens have access to affordable, high-quality postsecondary education, regardless of their race or family wealth. This report seeks to inform this debate by bringing new data on the urgency of the student debt crisis, particularly for borrowers of color, while outlining the policy mechanisms that are often considered in Promise Programs and free college proposals, and determining which are most important in creating an equitable guarantee for students.