The College Promise Campaign celebrates its second anniversary this week by remarking on the rapidly growing national movement for free community college programs in communities and states across the nation.
“Just two years ago we launched a bold initiative to make a community college education as universal and free as high school was in the 20th century,” said Dr. Martha J. Kanter, the Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign. “Since we launched our campaign on September 9, 2015, the number of College Promise programs has almost quadrupled, with now close to 200 programs underway in 40 states. We’ve proudly supported this momentum with the backing of our cross-sector National Advisory Board, which President Barack Obama announced during our launch in Michigan. These leaders have worked across party and institutional lines to support college access and completion in communities everywhere.”
Higher education leaders also remarked on the rapid growth of the movement.
“The momentum around Promise has been truly remarkable,” said J. Noah Brown, President and CEO of the Association of Community College Trustees and a member of the College Promise National Advisory Board. “What makes this growth possible is the ability of leaders to customize their programs and the mix of resources in ways that address student and local needs.”
Throughout the nation, leaders at the state and local level are launching College Promise programs which cover tuition fees for hardworking students to attend a community college, technical school, or university.
In the last year alone, more than 50 new programs have been announced or established in small communities, large cities, and states. Across the country, from Hawaii to North Carolina, San Francisco, Lansing, and Boston, local leaders are establishing College Promise programs.
State momentum has also grown quickly. To date, the Campaign has identified legislation and executive orders from governors and legislators in 12 states to launch their own College Promise programs. Just this year, governors working across party lines drove Rhode Island, New York, Hawaii, Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada, and Montana into the free college movement, joining the ranks of Tennessee, Oregon, Minnesota, Delaware, and Kentucky.
“Across the country, leaders from business, education and government are working together to build College Promise programs because they understand that a high school education is no longer enough to ensure a good job and decent quality of life,” said Kanter. “As we move ahead into the third year of our campaign we will continue to do all that we can to support local and state leaders as they work to design and fund sustainable, high-quality Promise programs for students who live in their cities and towns.”