Community College

community college
click on the map for more information

For Texas to meet the needs of a diverse and growing global economy we need a highly educated workforce. Creating a free state-wide community college for all will enable Texas to be competitive in the 21st century.

Creating free state-wide community college for the state of Texas would roughly cost $2 billion dollars annually and could be offset by closing loopholes and reinstating previous tax cuts that cost the state budget roughly $5 billion annually.

A smaller free state-wide community college with age and graduation date stipulations similar to Tennessee would cost roughly $34 million annually.


  • Roughly 10% of Texas students at community colleges don’t have access to federal student loan programs and are forced to use high interest for-profit loans or pay out of pocket
  • Texas families are not able to afford traditional student loans for reasons such as but not limited to: credit score, income, interest rates and financial knowledge.
  • Students are lured under false pretenses by for-profit universities to attend their programs as a “quick fix to get out of poverty.”
  • Students that attend for-profit institutions are 2-3 times more likely to default on their students loans.
  • Due to federal laws social security can be garnished to pay back student loans hurting current and future seniors
  • Federal student loans can be consolidated, but not refinanced
  • 30% of students have children but Houston Community College does not offer evening, weekend or drop-in childcare


  • Close corporate loopholes in the state sales tax
  • Reallocate some of the $800 million wasted on border security
  • Use the roughly $178 million from the Hazlewood Act set aside for children of veterans to create a free state-wide community college program
  • Publicly financed [free] state wide community college for all Texas residents after they have lived in the state after 1 year (regardless of age, high school graduation date, part time or full time enrollment, etc)
  • Recipients could be required to live and work full time in Texas for five years after earning a degree. Students who do not meet these requirements would have their aid converted into a loan. (similar to New York’s Bill A05098A)
  • Pre trial reform could save the state of Texas roughly $100 to $200 million annually
  • Create a city-wide free community college program similar to the city of seattle would cost a median home owner roughly $20 a month
  • Create a city-wide free community college program similar to the city of san francisco that would be funded by a real estate transfer tax
  • Offer free summer school to full time spring and fall students similar to other Texas community colleges


  • Publicly finance [free] 6 credits per semester (regardless of age, high school graduation date, part time or full time enrollment etc)
  • Charge the same tuition for repeated courses
  • Allow state appropriations for community colleges to be used to offset tuition and fees
  • Create a public bank to provide no fee, low interest student loans for undergraduate and graduate students similar to the state bank of North Dakota. (Student loans could only be used at public or non-profit institutions of higher education)

Texas Constitution
Code – Education Code
Chapter – 54 Tuition and Fees
Section – 54.2001 Continued Receipt of Exemptions or Waivers Conditional
Section – 54.341 Veterans and Other Military Personnel (Hazlewood Act)

Chapter – 56 Student Financial Assistance

Chapter – 130 Junior Collect Districts
Section – 130.003 State appropriation for public junior collect district
Section – 130.0034 Tuition for Repeated Courses
Section – 130.085 Tuition Exemption

Star Telegram – Texas Democrat proposes $2 billion program for college tuition for high school grads

Star Telegram – Texas budget plan would cut $1.7 billion from higher education

Lt. Gov. Candidate Van De Putte Has Plan For 2 Free Years In College, Technical School

Huffington Post – Some Places Are Already Providing Free Community College. You Just Haven’t Heard About It.

Huffington Post – Ohio Following Oregon’s Lead In Delayed Tuition Plan

Huffington Post – Free Tuition: Answer To Growing College Debt?

Huffington Post – Free Community College Is Already Happening In Red And Blue States

Huffington Post – One Way States Can Help Student Loan Borrowers

NCSL – Free Community College

NCSL – Student Loan Debt

The Atlantic – New programs in Oregon and Tennessee face praise and scrutiny about which students they actually benefit

The Atlantic – Did Texas Just Discover the Cure for Sky-High Tuition?

The Atlantic – Free Tuition Is Not Enough

The Atlantic – Why Some Cities and States Are Footing the Bill for Community College

Star Tribune – Minnesota pilot project offers free ride to technical college

Delaware’s SEED Scholarship – Providing Access to Community College since 2005

The Campaign for Free College Tuition

Thousands To Benefit From Oregon Free Community College Bill

7 countries where Americans can study at universities, in English, for free (or almost free)

USA Today – Tennessee students must do community service to attend college for free

CNN – Does free community college work?

How US students get a university degree for free in Germany

Navigating France’s higher-ed system requires lots of planning and test-taking, but not a whole lot of money.

Why Finland and Norway still shun university tuition fees – even for international students

OECD – How Much Do Tertiary Students Pay and what Public Subsidies Do They Receive?

Federal Reserve Bank of New York – Young Student Loan Borrowers Retreat from Housing and Auto Markets

Slate – You Can Now Go to College in Germany for Free, No Matter Where You’re From

ABC News – More Federal Loan Debt Forgiven for Corinthian Students

New York Times – With This Tuition Rise, Quieter CUNY Reaction

New York Times – California Weighs End of Free College Education

Christian Science Monitor – Will California’s tuition-free colleges become history?

When Tuition at CUNY Was Free, Sort Of

Could the Era of Free Tuition Return to CUNY?

Bill Moyers – These Students Are Leading a Movement for Free College in the United States

CBPP – State-by-State Fact Sheets: Higher Education Cuts Jeopardize Students’ and States’ Economic Future

The Globe and Mail – Ontario to offer grants to cover college tuition for low-income students

Community College Association of Texas Trustees – Texas 2 year College: Briefing for Policy Makers

Houston Chronicle – Student outcomes tied community college funding

PBS – Californians pay for state’s public colleges but increasingly can’t get in

PBS – Michigan plan promises to cover college tuition, but students must ‘pay it forward’

Washington Post – Here’s what happened in Texas when community college suddenly got a lot cheaper

Washington Post – Kentucky governor can’t slash public university budget unless there’s a shortfall, state supreme court rules

Houston Chronicle – Free community college proposal faces big hurdles in Texas

Salt Lake Community College will fill tuition gaps for low-income students

Next City – Detroit Mayor Announces Free College Tuition Plan

Mayor Duggan announces Detroit Promise Zone program that will provide all Detroit HS graduates 2 years of free college

Michigan Promise Zone – Free State Wide College

New Kentucky budget includes free community college

Brookings – Jeb Bush’s student loan plan should outlive his campaign

Brookings – Lower the risk of investing in college with Income Share Agreements

Slate – Because You’re Worth It: Afraid of student-loan debt? Sell stock in yourself instead

Slate – Does Arkansas’ Free Community College Program Hold Promise?

Huffington Post – Income Sharing Agreements Could Help Fix the Student Loan Crisis

NPR – The Hard Truth About Defaulting On Student Loans

NPR – Minnesota unveils plan to refinance student loans at lower rates

Here’s how a plan for free community college for Los Angeles Unified School District grads could work

San Francisco Examiner – Proposal would make community college free for San Francisco residents

Huffington Post – College Could Be Free In America If Corporations Paid Reagan-Era Taxes

Dissent Magazine – From Master Plan to No Plan: The Slow Death of Public Higher Education

Dissent Magazine – Why Free College Is Necessary

Washington Post – It’s almost impossible for students to sue a for-profit college. Here’s why.

Nation – If You Owe Student-Loan Debt, the Government Can Garnish Your Social Security Benefits

Huffington Post – Stop Garnishing Social Security Benefits to Pay Student Debt.

Forbes – Social Security and Unpaid Student Loans: What the Feds Won’t Tell You

The Guardian – US treasury collects $150m in student loan payments from social security benefits

Mayor Walsh Launches Tuition-Free Community College for BPS Graduates

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh Announces Free Community College Tuition Plan

Orange County Register – Santa Ana Unified students now eligible for a tuition-free first year of community college

National Bureau of Economic Research – Gainfully Employed? Assessing the Employment and Earnings of For-Profit College Students Using Administrative Data

Folsom Lake Community college offers 1 year tuition free to recent graduates

Minter: Tuition-free community and technical college for Vermonters

Washington Post – The surprising number of community college students without access to federal student loans

Inside Higher Ed – Many Community Colleges Opt Out of Loan Program

Inside Higher Education – Cognitive Dissonance

Inside Higher Education – Proposal for Free Community College Tuition in Texas

NASFAA – Report Examines Effect Opting Out of Federal Loan Programs Has on Community College Students

Business Journal – Florida’s community college students have better access to federal student loans than others

New America – More than Tuition: Experimenting with Loan Limits

Gotham Gazette – Could CUNY Be Tuition-Free Again?

Higher education leaders mobilize to expand tuition-free community college in California

Pew – One Way States Can Help Student Loan Borrowers

Burlington Free Press – Welch pushes for student loan refinancing law

New York Times -In New Jersey Student Loan Program, Even Death May Not Bring a Reprieve

New York Times – New Jersey Lawmakers Vote to Forgive Deceased Students’ Loans

Washington Post – Elizabeth Warren’s bill to refinance student loans dies in the Senate. Now what?

Time – Why Can’t People with Student Loans Refinance at Better Rates?

CBC – Free tuition comes at big cost to 40,000 students

CBC – New Brunswick offers free tuition to low-income students

My San Antonio – Van de Putte rolls out higher education proposal

Think Progress – CHART: By 2020, Two-thirds Of American Jobs Will Require Some Higher Education

The Woodlands Villager – Bill could allow some students to go to community college with free tuition

GOP feud has roots in clash over community college

Texas Tribune – Texas Lawmakers Explore Paring Back Free Tuition for Veterans’ Kids

Texas Tribune – Perry to Push Texas Colleges to Offer $10,000 Degree

Texas Tribune – Texas University Chancellors Brace for Budget Cuts

CBPP – Years of Cuts Threaten to Put College Out of Reach for More Students

Demos – Texas’ Investment in Higher Education Lags Behind Student Needs and Workforce Demands

Vox – What Scotland learned from making college tuition free

Social Science Research Network – The Effect of Tuition Fees on University Applications: Evidence from the UK

The Conversation – Free education is possible if South Africa moves beyond smoke and mirrors

Oregon Public Broadcasting – PSU’s ‘4 Years Free’ Is The Latest Carrot For College-Bound High Schoolers

Hechinger Report – How free college tuition in one country exposes unexpected pros and cons

The Fresno Bee – Starting college for free? Valley education leaders make it happen

Common Dreams – Free Tuition Proposal Aims to Reclaim San Francisco’s City College

San Francisco Business Times – Prop. W would raise S.F. real estate taxes in effort to make City College free for residents

Free tuition resolution on Barstow City Council agenda

San Francisco supervisors allocate $9 million for free City College tuition

Truth Out – A Plea From Inside: Prisons Must Offer College Classes

Garrett County Leads the Way With College Tuition Program

Alamo College District Offers Free Summer School

Free tuition to continue for EU students in Scotland

%d bloggers like this: