Institute senior researcher Michelle Miller-Adams and Sara Goldrick-Rab of Temple University have written a response to recent criticism of free college programs that appears as a Commentary column in The Chronicle of Higher Education. In "Don’t Dismiss the Value of Free-College Programs. They Do Help Low-Income Students," Goldrick-Rab and Miller-Adams claim:
"[F]ree-college programs are helping low-income students. It is unproductive and unhelpful to those students to stunt the progress of this movement. It is also dangerous to argue against the very real needs of a middle class dominated by asset-limited, income-constrained families. We do not live in a perfect world, so we should welcome the paradigm shift and the very real incremental gains that free-college programs represent. This is not the end of policy innovation but rather the beginning of significant progress. It would be a shame for equity-minded people to take the wind out of the free-college movement's sails."
Michelle Miller-Adams is the author of The Power of a Promise: Education and Economic Renewal in Kalamazoo and Promise Nation: Transforming Communities through Place-Based Scholarships. She is also professor of political science at Grand Valley State University.