The Chronicle of Higher Education recently featured a new venture that will offer free courses for college credit as part of a “freshman year for free” initiative. Last April, the state of New York announced that it would make college “tuition-free” for the middle-class at both two- and four-year colleges. In early August, Rhode Island, in turn, announced free community college. US News and World Report in 2012 reported on 12 colleges who exchange tuition for some sort of service and were cited as “tuition- free” institutions. And lastly, BestColleges.com recently reported the top 10 best colleges with free tuition.
In a time of increased focus on affordability and completion, the questions that need to be addressed include: Is college really free? Who will pay for it? What is the value of college to students? To society?