Lawmakers introduce “free college tuition” bills

(WBRE/WYOU) – Many college students will tell you,  loan repayments after graduation is a major concern.  Some Philadelphia area lawmakers are proposing free tuition.

If you’re a high school graduate with a family income of $110,000 a year or less, you could also get up to four years of tuition and fees covered at one of the 14 state owned universities or a state related university. The house and senate version of the bill are jointly known as the promise act.

Mother of five – Joan Vincent – says she’d support any policy that would help all her children achieve a higher education.

“I’m struggling to keep one in college currently. I can’t even imagine trying to get all five through,” she said.

But a program that promises students free tuition will come at a price-tag that lawmakers say won’t necessarily come to tax increases.

“We’d certainly look at Marcellus shale, there is certainly expansion of gaming,” said Rep. James Roebuck.

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania supports making higher education more affordable. But leaders say in a state that sees almost 42 percent of students going to private colleges, lawmakers might consider a different approach.

“We already have a program called the ‘Ready to Succeed’ scholarship with the same ($110,000) cap. So, we just need to fund those programs better than we are today,” said Don Francis, the president of AICUP.

The bill – if passed – would also cover up to four years of tuition and fees for those enrolled full time at one of Pennsylvania’s public community colleges. Room and board would also be covered if your family income is $48,000 or less.