This State Just Announced Free College For All High School Graduates

A Vermont foundation is partnering with state community colleges to pay for 2-year community college degree programs.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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Vermont foundation

A Vermont foundation is partnering with state community colleges to pay for 2-year community college degree programs. This will not cost taxpayers or feed into more government control of the education system but rather offers to pay for students’ financial aid and/or tuition fees. Not only that but this organization will also offer career advancement aid as well as career counseling. What is this charity and who is funding it? 

The organization is named after its founders: J. Warren & Lois McClure Foundation. Nicknamed the McClure Foundation, this charitable non-profit has deemed this the “McClure Free Degree Promise through the Early College Program at CCV.” It will go to benefit high school students who graduate between 2023 and 2026. The Vermont foundation will also provide funding for books, transportation and other college costs. 

Vermont foundation

In addition, the students benefiting from the Vermont foundation have the option to earn college credits during their senior year which also counts toward earning their high school diploma. The credits will be doubly recognized in the hopes that this will encourage them to continue their higher education and meet more successes. As if that weren’t enough — in order to reward students for working hard this year — high school seniors graduating in the current class of 2022 are also eligible if they are taking advanced Early Community College of Vermont (CCV) classes.

This comes at a time when The Biden Administration and many other politicians are considering canceling student debt. A federal student loan forgiveness program is a divisive topic for many. Some believe that student loans are predatory and financially cripple young adults before they are fully able to understand the long-term effects of taking on such a responsibility. Many college graduates are unable to pay back their loans for decades even. Others look at the United States budget deficit and wonder how the country can possibly afford to pay for loans that legal consenting adults agreed to. There are also the millions and millions of people who had to work hard to pay for their student loans who are concerned that by simply canceling debt for younger generations, new graduates will not take other legally binding contracts seriously. The Vermont Foundation’s solution negates all of these concerns on a state level.  

Vermont foundation

Other states are considering their own solutions. In Main, a budget was passed to include 2 years of taxpayer-funded community college from 2020 through 2023. It is an ongoing experiment that has yet to report on success rates. Yet not all states agree with this approach to offering “free college.” Each area differs in their stance when it comes to paying for college. Many students believe that institutions of higher learning should require fewer elective classes and streamline their degree programs to cater to their fields, among other suggestions to cut costs. Now that Vermont has charitable foundation funding, this solution may catch on as well. 

The McClures and their Vermont foundation are offering an alternative that neither concerns the federal budget nor taxpayers. It also leaves degree program decisions to the college without interference. CCV President Joyce Judy heralded this act as, “an incredible gift to Vermonters.” The program is expected to enrich the community by offering students with more advancement opportunities.