Resources to Address “Free Tuition” Initiatives

A few days after New York State approved its “free tuition” plan in April 2017, the Council of Independent Colleges released a research report showing how a modest increase in state tuition grants to students who enroll in private colleges could save tax dollars and increase the number of college graduates in many states. The report, Utilizing Independent Colleges and Universities to Fulfill States’ College Degree Attainment Goals, was prepared by researchers William Zumeta of the University of Washington and Nick Huntington-Klein of California State University, Fullerton.

New York State alone would save $159 million, according to this research study, and several articles were published about New York’s plan and the findings of the CIC report.

A number of additional states are considering some form of “free tuition” policy. Especially for CIC member colleges in those states, this report and resources may be helpful, including subsequent news articles, related research, and other discussions of this issue. CIC will continue to add material to this site.

This report is available online only as a PDF.
Download Utilizing Independent Colleges and Universities to Fulfill States’ College Degree Attainment Goals

Media Coverage of the Report

Private Colleges Can Partner to Solve Issues
Edwardsville Intelligencer, May 8, 2017

OTHER Resources ABOUT “FREE Tuition” Initiatives

CIC has posted several links below and will continue to add new items.

Not Exactly Free
Inside Higher Ed, May 16, 2017

The Cuomo College Fiasco
New York Times, April 14, 2017

Don’t Forget Private, Non-Profit Colleges
Brookings Institution Report, February 16, 2017

How Clinton's 'Free College' Could Cause a Cascade of Problems
Chronicle of Higher Education, July 27, 2016

CIC encourages member institutions to share interviews and articles relevant to this issue by emailing them to


You also may find these infographics developed by CIC helpful in demonstrating the strengths of private colleges and universities.