Seattle Mayor Durkan’s Free Community College Plan
On her first full day in office, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan (D) fulfilled a campaign pledge by signing an executive order to make a community and technical college education free for the city’s recent high school graduates. City officials will have 100 days to draft a framework for the Seattle Promise Tuition Program, which will provide up to two years of tuition for students to attend any of the city’s technical or community colleges.
The College Promise Campaign applauds Mayor Durkan for taking this bold and innovative step. “We praise Mayor Durkan for committing to provide all Seattle high school graduates with affordable access to higher education. She joins a rapidly growing list of elected officials throughout the country who recognize that a high school education is no longer enough to prepare for the workforce,” said Dr. Martha J. Kanter, the Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign. “We commend Mayor Durkan for making free community college a priority on her first full day as mayor and for understanding that providing students with an affordable path to a career is essential for the city’s prosperity.”
“The City of Seattle must play an active role in reducing and removing financial barriers that keep our high school graduates from going to college or getting the technical training,” said Mayor Durkan after signing the order. “They need this education to have a shot at good, family-wage jobs. This will not just be good for our students; it will be great for Seattle. It will help channel the prosperity of our thriving economy back into our community and let us start filling thousands of job openings with our home-grown talent. Creating the Seattle Promise will build economic opportunity through education and help to make progress to reduce the opportunity gap for students of color.”
The College Promise movement is expanding at great speed as more programs are proposed and implemented in communities across the country. Mayor Durkan joins the growing list of mayors and other elected officials who have launched these free college initiatives. Over 200 programs in 42 states are now underway in major cities such as Boston, Detroit, Oakland, and Providence. Sixteen states have enacted College Promise legislation or executive actions for their residents, recognizing further education beyond high school as a return on investment for their communities.
About the College Promise Campaign:
The College Promise Campaign is a nonpartisan, nonprofit higher education initiative that builds widespread support for funding the first two years of a community college education for all hardworking students. Chaired by Dr. Jill Biden and former Governor Jim Geringer (R-WY), the Campaign works to build broad public support that community college education is an investment in America’s future and a necessary continuation of K-12 education. In the 21st century, a high school diploma is no longer enough to lead Americans to a good job and decent quality of life. CPC is an initiative of Civic Nation, a 501(c)(3) organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. Learn more about the College Promise and the Campaign at CollegePromise.org.