Watertown— Bill Gates, billionaire and Microsoft founder initiated a challenge to make college more affordable.
Since this challenge, governors in various states, beginning with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, announced a $10,000 initiative for 4-year degrees in 23 state-run colleges and higher education institutions. Soon after, Texas Gov. Rick Perry equally stepped up to the challenge to lower cost of college tuition in Texas, as well as Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
It is said that Bill Gates original challenge has caused a domino effect, soon after other states will want to compete and be forced to lower tuition in order to remain competitive. California is one such state that has lawmakers trying to push for the state to adopt the same $10K challenge for a 4-year degree.
In Albany, the non-profit Excelsior College just announced their program guaranteeing a bachelor’s degree for $10,000. This is half of what bachelor’s degrees originally costs at Excelsior, a school that specializes in helping working adults who’s average age is 40.
It is uncertain how a $10,000 bachelor’s degree program will impact community colleges however. If colleges nation wide adopt the $10K degree program, this could have a positive or negative impact on how many feel the financial need to attend Community Colleges.
President of local Jefferson Community College, Carole A. McCoy issued this statement:
“As a community college, the very heart of our mission is to provide quality, affordable higher education opportunities to the community we serve. And, Jefferson is very supportive of expanding opportunities for our students to continue their education at an affordable price, as long as the quality of the educational experience is not compromised. Without any specifics on an initiative for a $10K bachelor’s degree in New York, it is difficult to say what impact, if any, it would have on community college enrollment. But it is safe to say that community colleges are here to stay. Jefferson Community College serves commuter students, students who are seeking a two-year career program degree and workers who want to enhance their job skills, and provides an academic pathway for adult learners.”