It’s a start

In many capitalist European countries, college students do not have to pay tuition fees out of their own pockets. Here in America, most students have to fund their own college costs, which for many students means student loans. Whether or not they complete the degree, student loan borrowers can’t discharge these loans through bankruptcy.

Of course, college isn’t free in Europe, it’s paid for by taxpayers. Presumably, those countries believe the benefits of an educated citizenry repays the investment. I guess Americans don’t.

But in Massachusetts, they’re taking a small step towards the European model. MassReconnect offers free community college to any student over the age of 25:

“Less than a year after the Healey administration launched the program, MassReconnect appears successful in encouraging older students to enroll in community college, according to new enrollment data the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education gave the editorial board. The program offers free tuition and fees plus a stipend for books and supplies to Massachusetts residents over 25 attending public community college . . . Massachusetts’ community colleges have seen continuous drops in enrollment for the past decade. That changed this year when enrollment actually increased by 8.7 percent, according to state figures. The increase coincided with an influx in public funding for higher education, including MassReconnect, increased financial aid for low-income students of all ages, and additional aid for students entering nursing and other high-demand careers.”


“The biggest challenge will be ensuring that students who start a degree finish it, and one important metric to follow will be how many students who entered the program this year reenroll. Community colleges generally have low rates of college completion. If a student gets money but drops out before getting their degree, that is probably a waste of student time and taxpayer money.”

Some multi-year scholarships are contingent on maintaining a certain GPA. That’s one way to incent degree completion.

I hope the program is successful and eventually expanded to four-year colleges and universities.

Free community college in Massachusetts