It may seem obvious, but it’s also important to have evidence: when you make college more affordable, more people who otherwise wouldn’t enroll take the step and invest in their future.
As the State of California debates new measures to make college more affordable, Francisco Rodriguez, chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District, has gone on record to discuss the results of a 2017 law that made college more accessible by making it affordable.
According to reporter Felicia Mello:
“Rodriguez said the number of students enrolling in his district from local public high schools had gone up by nearly a quarter since it instituted its free community college program, which also includes extra counseling and other support. He believes more of them would go on to university if tuition were covered. “It raises the level of aspiration, and relieves the pressure of how am I going to pay for college,” he said.”
It seems so simple, but it’s important to understand that this works: if you make college more affordable, more of the traditionally underserved will attend.
Of course, getting access to college in the first place is only part of the solution. Only about one in five full-time students accepted to the University of California system graduate in four years. So accessibility is a key component, but it’s not the whole solution.
These are the problems that we were created to help address. Calbright is free, focuses on the needs of non-traditional students, offers skills-based education with a direct line toward upwardly mobile jobs instead of degrees, and can be taken by the learner at their own pace, from any location with internet. We even have programs to loan laptops and internet connections to people in rural areas without easy internet access.
Will it work? We’re still finding that out – but the early results of similar experiments are that yes, it can.