A Proposal for Two Years of Free Tuition for All Students in Wisconsin

There has been a ton of data out there showing how terrible and predatory for-profit colleges are, and two educational policy studies professors at the University of Wisconsin, Madison are putting together a paper that will show how reallocating financial aid money given to for-profit colleges and putting it back into the public sector could benefit all students by making the first two years of public university free:

“Its not right for the University of Phoenix to charge students $25,000 a year and pay for it all with financial aid that came from taxpayers,” she said. “So we take all that money and simply redistribute it in the public system, and it turns out we have more than enough money.”

According to Goldrick-Rab, students considered lower-class would no longer be favored for financial aid over middle-class students under the plan.

“We really were struck by the fact that a lot of people act like the only people who need financial aid are the really, really poor people,” Goldrick-Rab said. “And if you look at the data it’s actually pretty clear that even the middle class is having a hard time.”

The plan would not be limited to in-state students and out-of-state students would be able to attend the first two years of any public university in the country for free as well, Goldrick-Rab said.

Giving students two years of college for free is feasible. As Meaghan wrote last week, Tennessee is already implementing a plan that would give all high school graduates free in-state tuition at two-year colleges in the state.

Photo: Phil Roeder

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