The Road to Tuition-Free College: U.S. Department of Education Releases The America’s College Promise Playbook

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education announced the release of The America’s College Promise Playbook, a detailed guide for educational institutions to initiate programs that help bridge the achievement gap and guide students of all backgrounds through the world of higher education.

The playbook is designed to support President Obama’s America’s College Promise proposal, which allows responsible students to earn Associate’s Degrees or two years of a Bachelor’s Degree tuition-free. The plan was designed with the hope to make “two years of college as universal as high school was a century ago,” according to Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr.

The plan offers strategies for community initiatives to expand college access, strengthen the community college experience, and help students to either continue their education or find solid employment. It also outlines the five steps communities have used to successfully launch America’s College Promise plans.

These include:

1. Identifying community needs and opportunities.
2. Building a team and developing partnerships to strengthen educational quality.
3. Designing a high-quality program that serves the community’s and students’ needs.
4. Developing a sustainable funding model.
5. Evaluating and assessing program effectiveness to learn what works for continuous improvement.

The document also shares case studies of effective improvement programs, like the Tennessee Promise program and the Boston Free College Community program, in hopes that educators across the country can learn from these communities.

Read more about The America’s College Promise Playbook.

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Download The America’s College Promise Playbook from the U.S. Department of Education.

Hannah Nyren

Hannah Nyren

A Texan by birth but a Bostonian at heart, Hannah is an educational writer, AmeriCorps alum, and one-time StartupWeekend EDU (SWEDU) winning team member. She started her career at a Pearson-incubated edtech startup, but has since covered travel, food & culture, and even stonemasonry in addition to education.