The free college movement was picking up steam before the pandemic hit the United States. Sixteen states have enacted free college programs, and several others offer extensive scholarship initiatives.
But the economic turmoil may dampen some of that activity. At least one state has already pared back its free college program and another warned students it may have to do the same because of pandemic-related budget challenges.
Predictions for the effects of the pandemic on students enrolled in education after high school were grim from the outset—and new survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau confirm that many students, particularly the most vulnerable ones, are struggling right now to continue their education.
The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the age of 87 dealt a stinging blow to higher education, which looked to Ginsburg as a progressive voice on the high court who could be counted on to champion equity issues.
From affirmative action to protecting LGBTQ+ people against employment discrimination under Title VII, Ginsburg had been a trusted liberal justice on the court and a symbol for gender equity.