Tuition Free Community College Being Discussed Across The Country

FCC’s President says it’s a question of access to higher education.


Frederick, Md (KM). It’s been talked about all over the country: should a community college education be free of charge.

Dr. Libby Burmaster, President of Frederick Community College, says this discussion shows the importance Americans place on post-secondary education, and the value of higher education. But she also calls it an access question. “And if we are going insure for the 21st century that we are on the cutting edge as a nation, and beginning that at home locally, we’re are going to have to insure accessibility to higher education,” she says.

With the cost of attendingĀ  a four-year college on the increase, Burmaster says FCC has tried to keep tuition within reason. “At FCC, we have worked hard to keep tuition affordable, to not have big increases in tuition. We’re about $120 a credit, which is very good, very reasonable,” she says.

Even if this is too much, financial aid is available. “We have a foundation–the FCC Foundation-generous community donors who help to then provide scholarships to make the experience at FCC more affordable,” says President Burmaster.

Last year, she says, the FCC Foundation received $2.2-million in new donations.

But as to the question of whether community college should be free, Dr. Burmaster says that’s up to each individual state. “For what I know of the different states, they each their own unique approach to it,” she says. “So I don’t think it’s really a black and white question of is it good, is it bad. It would really have to fit the needs of those students it would be serving.”

But Burmaster FCC will continue doing all it can to keep tuition affordable and providing scholarships to lessen the cost of attending FCC so that graduates are not burdened with debt after they receive their diplomas. “To just make sure that we keep tuition low, and to be able to provide as many scholarships as we can so that our students aren’t burdened with student loan debt after they have completed and moved back into the workplace,” she says.


By Kevin McManus