Free College Tuition Is Becoming a Reality in More and More States

Cyclist passes by the University of Minnesota bridge at night
Pratik Goswami/Getty Images

College is among the first major financial investments many young adults will face in their lives.

But the rising cost of college and the thought of taking on massive student loan debt have some potential co-eds and their families reconsidering that investment.

The good news: Several states — and cities — have implemented or are considering plans for free college programs for its residents.

We’ve written about this before (here, here and here), but more and more states are joining the bandwagon.

CNBC reports more than 20 states offer some form of free college for students.

“Based on the early evidence, there has been an enrollment boost,” Dustin Weeden, a senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told CNBC. “That’s where the benefit is — bringing in students who would not have attended without the free college program.”

Free College Tuition Is Becoming a Reality in Many States

The Campaign for Free College Tuition believes public state schools should be tuition free. The nonprofit organization offers information about where free college programs are being implemented and why it’s important to have access to more affordable higher education.

“We believe that it is time for older Americans to provide younger generations with many of the same possibilities we enjoyed by fundamentally reforming our nation’s system for financing higher education,” the campaign’s About Us page reads. “The growing divide between family income and higher education cost increases have made the current system unworkable.

The following lists show which states offer free college and which are making moves toward that direction, according to the Campaign for Free College Tuition.

States That Have Statewide Scholarship Programs

  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee

States With Extensive Scholarship Programs

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Iowa  
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

States With Introduced Legislation for Free College

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Washington

Offering tuition free of cost is a trend that’s spreading across the nation. As this movement grows, more students will be able to fulfill their dreams of earning a college degree — and hopefully entering the workforce with a greater advantage.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.