According to one nonprofit the movement for free college is growing and it’s growing fast.

The College Promise Campaign, a nonprofit working to up the number of quality College Promise programs, released a statewide program landscape during a recent symposium explaining how the idea is becoming more and more popular.

In the fall of 2018, the campaign it said announced more than 300 active College Promise programs across 44 states. In April it released a status update on statewide programs engaged in the free college movement. The stats highlight 24 states that have actively passed and taken steps to implement a statewide “Promise” program, according to a press release.

These statewide programs reflect the bipartisan nature of a movement intended to bolster the American talent pipeline and increase student success outcomes, the release stated.

“All across the nation, momentum has been building throughout states and localities to create opportunities which allow students to start and complete a college education without taking on mountains of student debt,” said Martha Kanter, executive director of the College Promise Campaign in the release.

Currently, the program highlights the gains made by governors in establishing statewide programs across the country. Presently, more than 60 percent of states have/or are taking legislative steps to implement a statewide College Promise program, the organization reported.

“States are taking action and funding Promise programs to increase economic competitiveness and close talent shortage gaps,” said Rosye Cloud, vice president of the College Promise Campaign in the release. “Promise programs provide hope at a time when many Americans feel forgotten.”

Some College Promise programs use a hybrid mixture of local, state and federal funds; others use only local and/or state dollars; and some are solely privately funded. A variety of programs rely on public and private partnerships with help from corporations and philanthropy. Some are designed for a single campus or college district, while others are city-, county- or state-wide.

“Initial results show local and state Promise programs improve outcomes for students and their communities,” said Robyn Hiestand, director of Research and Policy at the College Promise Campaign in the news release. “We are going to be working with local and state researchers and practitioners to improve research, analysis and policy tools to help inform the national dialogue on free college.”

The Promise movement has seen much growth over the past several years, rising from 54 programs in 2015 to more than 300 nationwide, with growth scaling to the state level. Research shows that Promise programs promote a college-going culture and help students not only access but succeed in college, the release added.

While individual program models vary, each is guided by a few core principles. A College Promise is a commitment to fund a college education for every eligible student advancing on the path to earn a degree, certificate and/or credits that transfer to a four-year university, the release added.

 The College Promise Campaign reports it is “a nonpartisan, nonprofit higher education initiative that builds widespread support for funding quality college programs for all hardworking students. In the 21st century, a high school diploma is no longer enough to lead Americans to a good job and a decent quality of life. CPC is an initiative of Civic Nation, a 501(c)(3) organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. “

Source: The College Promise Campaign