Promises, promises

Free community college works in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Students there succeed at higher rates.  From Inside Higher Education.

Free Community College: It Works
The goal was to “change the conversation about the value of community college” by using a clear message about free tuition, Brookey said. “There is no excuse in our community not to go to college.” 
Each year since the program began, roughly 1,500 local students have accepted that offer and taken on the extra responsibilities that come with it. Roughly one in five graduating high school seniors in Tulsa County participates in Tulsa Achieves, according to the college.
Enrollment numbers are up as a result. And Tulsa Achieves students top their peers in measures of academic performance. They have higher GPAs and retention and graduation rates, and are more likely to complete gateway courses. 
For example, fully half of the first group of students, which first enrolled in 2007, had earned a bachelor's degree, associate degree or certificate by 2014 -- with 48 percent earning degrees (see chart). Only 32 percent of non-Tulsa Achieves students who entered that year earned a credential in the same period. 
The free tuition program's numbers are better than completion rates for community college students nationwide. And subsequent classes of incoming students in Tulsa Achieves are on course for similar completion rates
High numbers of students in Tulsa Achieves transfer to four-year institutions. About 44 percent of the first class transferred, compared to 32 percent of their peers. And 22 percent of the first 1,500 students had earned a bachelor's degree by last fall.


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