The New York Times recently ran an article on the increase in middle-class families turning to community colleges for affordable, quality education. According to the piece, Pasadena City College has seem a 320% increase in students whose parents make more than $100,000 a year, to 828 students last year from 197 in 2007.
The trend is only likely to continue as more city and state tuitions embrace a #FreeCommunityCollege approach, such as the program Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed into law last October. As free community college initiatives have become magnets for middle-class students, some schools are attempting to rework their free tuition programs. According to the article, for instance, Oregon is soon making changes to its program, Oregon Promise, since the majority of the $11.8 million in aid the school gave out went to upper-income families.
The piece notes that some low-income students are weary of these changes. Nicole Figueroa, a third year student at Pasadena Community College, said she is okay with the influx of wealthier students at the institution as “long as administrators do not lose sight of their work with low-income ones.”