‘Free’ community college in Oregon wouldn’t actually be free

September 19, 2014 / Phil Lesch

The Oregonian
September 18th, 2014

If Oregon enacts a program to give free community college to some or many young adults who want it, it wouldn't actually be free for students.

They and their families would be expected to chip in first -- in most cases with thousands and thousands of dollars a year.

Higher education expert Dennis Jones, who is helping Oregon shape a plan to get more Oregonians to earn college credentials by easing the sticker shock of college, made it clear in his presentation to the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday that "free" college wouldn't be free.

Oregon's governor and Legislature want to dramatically increase the share of Oregon adults who earn college degrees and credentials. The 2013 Legislature voted to study offering two years of free community college as one way to accomplish that.

Jones, who is president of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, and some Oregon higher education officials have spent a lot of time considering how no-cost community college might work in Oregon.

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